‘They’re on’: Trump confirms new tariffs on China imports

A worker in a factory which makes dried vegetables for export to the US, Britain, Japan, South Korea and other countries, in Zhangye in China's northwestern Gansu province. (AFP)
Updated 31 August 2019

‘They’re on’: Trump confirms new tariffs on China imports

  • The new tariffs will go ahead underlines the reality that the two sides remain at loggerheads

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump confirmed Friday that steep new tariffs on Chinese goods will kick in on Sunday and said that his economic pressure is forcing Beijing to take a more moderate line in Hong Kong.

“They’re on,” Trump told reporters, two days before the levies on billions of dollars of Chinese imports are set to rise in the latest escalation of the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

Trump also said that US economic pressure on China was responsible for preventing the authorities from carrying out a harsher crackdown against pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.

“Because of what I’m doing with trade, that’s really keeping down the temperature,” he said at the White House.

Trump’s tough line — and his claim that events in Hong Kong are linked to the trade war — follows his insistence over the last week that Chinese negotiators are keener than ever to strike a deal.

However, despite repeated hints that high-level communications have been reopened on the standoff, White House officials have sparked skepticism by failing to provide details of those reported talks.

The US leader’s confirmation that the new tariffs will go ahead underlines the reality that the two sides remain at loggerheads.

Trump earlier this month had called for 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion in goods to take effect on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15. Then Beijing retaliated by targeting $75 billion in US exports and Trump announced that the new tariffs would instead hit 15 percent.  In addition, existing 25 percent duties on $250 billion of Chinese products will rise to 30 percent starting on Oct. 1.

Trump initiated the trade war last year because of complaints over unfair Chinese trade practices.

His comments on Hong Kong could touch political nerves in China, which bristles at anything it sees as outside interference in the protest-wracked city.

Asked if he saw a connection between the way the Chinese respond to the unrest and the difficulties their economy faces under US pressure, Trump said: “I do, I do.”

“If it weren’t for the trade talks, Hong Kong would be in much more trouble,” he said, reiterating a call for Beijing to “handle it in a humane fashion.”

Trump’s call fell on the same day prominent Hong Kong democracy activists, including three lawmakers, were arrested in a protest crackdown.

The move was described by rights groups as a well-worn tactic frequently deployed by China to suffocate dissent ahead of major political events.


SABIC eyes methanol plant in Russia’s far east

Updated 15 October 2019

SABIC eyes methanol plant in Russia’s far east

  • SABIC has signed an initial agreement with Russian interests to build and operate a methanol plant in the country’s far east
  • The installed capacity of the proposed plant in the Amur Region is expected to be up to two-million tons of methanol

LONDON: SABIC has signed an initial agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and ESN Group, to build and operate a methanol plant in the country’s far east.
The deal was struck on the sidelines of the Russian President’s visit to the Kingdom.
The installed capacity of the proposed plant in the Amur Region is expected to be up to two-million tons of methanol.
“This is an important milestone in our global growth strategy, which is formulated around competitive feedstock and capacity to innovate and plan strategically,” said Yousef Al-Benyan, SABIC Vice Chairman and CEO.
“We plan to maintain our strategic partnership with the Russian market by continuing to focus on meeting customer needs, increasing our key customer base, and growing our commercial operation.”
Riyadh-headquartered SABIC is the region’s biggest petrochemical company with operations worldwide. It has been rapidly expanding its global footprint over the last year as it pushes into new markets and higher value products.