China importers seek to lift tariffs on US farm goods: State media

US and Chinese trade officials recently had their first contact in months. (Reuters)
Updated 22 July 2019

China importers seek to lift tariffs on US farm goods: State media

  • Reducing America’s soaring trade deficit with China has long been a principal aim in Trump’s trade battle with Beijing, which he also accuses of stealing US technology and unfairly intervening in markets

SHANGHAI: Chinese importers are applying to their government to lift tariffs on some US agricultural imports, state media reported on Sunday, three weeks after the two sides reached a truce in their trade war.
The unnamed importers were talking to US suppliers about potential pricing and have applied to a Chinese government body with oversight of tariffs to lift the levies, the nearly identical reports in various media outlets said.
The importers were acting “according to the needs of the domestic market,” the reports said.
No further details were given, such as which products might be affected. The move may be a goodwill gesture after the US earlier this month was reported to have removed 110 Chinese export items from its own tariffs list.
The two economic giants have hit each other with punitive tariffs covering more than $360 billion in two-way trade since US President Donald Trump launched a trade war last year, damaging manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific. But Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a truce and to revive fractious trade negotiations when they met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan on June 29.
The Chinese media outlets on Sunday did not cite a specific source for the reported request to lift the tariffs on US goods.

FASTFACT

The move may be a goodwill gesture after the US earlier this month was reported to have removed 110 Chinese export items from its own tariffs list.

The reports come just a few days after Trump accused China of backsliding on promises to increase purchases of American farm exports.
Following the Osaka summit, Trump announced that, in return for Washington’s pledge to suspend a planned tariff increase on $300 billion in Chinese imports, Beijing had offered to buy “a tremendous amount of food and agriculture product” from the US.
“Mexico is doing great at the Border, but China is letting us down in that they have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would,” Trump said Thursday on Twitter. “Hopefully they will start soon!”
Last week, US and Chinese trade officials had their first contact in months in an effort to revive negotiations that nearly collapsed in May. Reducing America’s soaring trade deficit with China has long been a principal aim in Trump’s trade battle with Beijing, which he also accuses of stealing US technology and unfairly intervening in markets.


Gulf Marine CEO quits after review sparks profit warning

Updated 22 August 2019

Gulf Marine CEO quits after review sparks profit warning

  • Tensions in the Arabian Gulf, a worrisome global growth outlook and uncertainty over oil prices have recently dampened investor confidence

DUBAI: Gulf Marine Services said on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Duncan Anderson has resigned as the oilfield industry contractor warned a reassessment of its ships and contracts showed profit would fall this year, kicking its shares 12 percent down.

The Abu Dhabi-based offshore services specialist said a review by new finance chief Stephen Kersley of its large E-class vessels operating in Northwest Europe and the Middle East pointed to 2019 core earnings of between $45 million and $48 million, below $58 million that it reported last year.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Anderson, who has served as CEO for 12 years, was asked to step down. Anderson could not be reached for comment.

The company, which in the past predominantly operated in the UAE, expanded operations and deployed large vessels in the North Sea and Saudi Arabia nine years ago and listed its shares in London in 2014.

Tensions in the Arabian Gulf, a worrisome global growth outlook and uncertainty over oil prices have recently dampened investor confidence.

The North Sea has seen a revival in production in recent years due to new fields coming on line and improved performance by operators following the 2014 oil price collapse.

Still, the basin’s production is expected to decline over the next decade, according to Britain’s Oil and Gas Authority.

“(The CFO’s) review has coincided with a pause in renewables-related self-propelled self-elevating support vessels activity in the North Sea, which will impact several of the higher day-rate E-Class vessels,” Investec wrote in a note.

Gulf Marine appointed industry veteran Kersley as chief financial officer in late May as it sought to halt a slide which has seen the company’s shares fall nearly 80 percent last year and another 23 percent so far this year.

The company said market conditions remained challenging and that it was still in talks with its financial advisors regarding a new capital structure.

“Management, the new board and the group’s advisors, have been in negotiation with the group’s banks on resetting its capital structure and progress has been made,” it said in a statement.

Last year, Gulf Marine said contracts were delayed into 2019 as the company was seen to be in breach of certain banking covenants at the end of 2018.

The company said it was still in talks with its banks and individual lenders with hopes of getting a waiver or an agreement to amend the concerned covenants.