WEEK OF 2021.09.07

News, Views & Items of Interest Relevant to the Carolina Region
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The end of the War in Afghanistan is a relief for some and a threat of concern to others. Clearly, U.S. objectives have been substantially met since the death of Osama Bin Laden, but once again, it is obvious that the U.S. is not successful at nation-building. We will need to wait to see if the Taliban can deny terrorist groups from developing within their borders. Afghanistan's riches, including its opium and its rare-earth metals, will also be left for the Taliban to develop with the help of other countries. Both China and Russia have already focused on mining and refining Afghanistan's rare-earth metals.

In Afghanistan, China Is Ready to Step Into the Void

China in Afghanistan
An Opinion from The New York Times by Mr. Zhou Bo
Mr. Zhou Bo was a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army from 2003 to 2020 and is an expert on the Chinese Army’s strategic thinking on international security.

The speed and scope of the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan have prompted introspection in the West over what went wrong, and how, after billions of dollars spent on a 20-year war effort, it could all end so ignominiously. China, though, is looking forward. It is ready to step into the void left by the hasty U.S. retreat to seize a golden opportunity.

While Beijing has yet to formally recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new government, China issued a statement on Monday saying that it “respects the right of the Afghan people to independently determine their own destiny” and will develop “friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan.”

The message here is clear: Beijing has few qualms about fostering a closer relationship with the Taliban and is ready to assert itself as the most influential outside player in Afghanistan now all but abandoned by the United States.

Afghan Migration and Trade

Afghanistan Trade
According to GeoPolitical Futures, landlocked Afghanistan is a bridge between Central and South Asia, giving it the potential for a high degree of integration with its neighbors and an important role in regional trade. However, the country’s instability is not just an obstacle to these ambitions but a source of destabilization for the wider region.

Decades of violence have led to a consistent flow of refugees from the country. The main recipient countries are neighboring Pakistan and Iran, which began accepting Afghan refugees during the first wave caused by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Now, with the Western military withdrawal from the country and the resurgence of the Taliban, a new surge of refugees is forming. This concerns Afghanistan’s neighbors as well as more distant players with an interest in the region, like Russia, Turkey, and the European Union

"Trump’s Solar-Panel Tariffs

Survive China's Challenge at WTO"

Trump Solar Panels Tariff
• China didn’t show how U.S. safeguards failed to meet WTO rules
• Trump administration set tariff-rate quotas on Chinese imports

According to Bloomberg, a World Trade Organization dispute panel rejected all four of China’s claims against the U.S. relating to safeguard measures that the Trump administration imposed on solar panels imported from Chinese manufacturers.

China didn’t establish that Washington’s safeguards against imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells are inconsistent with the WTO’s rules on the measures, the Geneva-based body said in a report published Thursday.

Then-President Donald Trump announced four years of import caps and tariffs on panels after a certain amount is brought in -- so-called tariff-rate quotas -- in January 2018. That was in response to a trade suit filed in April 2017 by a bankrupt U.S. solar manufacturer that argued it had been harmed by a wave of cheap imports, mostly from Asia. The U.S. International Trade Commission agreed in October that year, paving the way for Trump’s decision.

Bloomberg data show that Chinese suppliers flooded the U.S. solar market with panels at the end of 2017 as customers sought to avoid paying a 30% import tariff.
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai welcomed the ruling. “We must make historic infrastructure investments that unlock the full potential of solar power and create good-paying jobs in cutting-edge fields that will help address the climate crisis,” she said in an emailed statement.

"Supply Chain Shortages Continue Around the World!

Get Used to It!"

New York Times - Like most people in the developed world, Kirsten Gjesdal had long taken for granted her ability to order whatever she needed and then watch the goods arrive, without any thought about the factories, container ships and trucks involved in delivery.

Not anymore.

At her kitchen supply store in Brookings, S.D., Ms. Gjesdal has given up stocking placemats, having wearied of telling customers that she can only guess when more will come. She recently received a pot lid she had purchased eight months earlier. She has grown accustomed to paying surcharges to cover the soaring shipping costs of the goods she buys. She has already placed orders for Christmas items like wreaths and baking pans.

“It’s nuts,” she said. “It’s definitely not getting back to normal.”

The challenges confronting Ms. Gjesdal’s shop, Carrot Seed Kitchen, are a testament to the breadth and persistence of the chaos roiling the global economy, as manufacturers and the shipping industry contend with an unrelenting pandemic.
Delays, product shortages, and rising costs continue to bedevil businesses large and small. And consumers are confronted with an experience once rare in modern times: no stock available, and no idea when it will come in.

In the face of an enduring shortage of computer chips, Toyota announced this month that it would slash its global production of cars by 40 percent. Factories around the world are limiting operations — despite powerful demand for their wares — because they cannot buy metal parts, plastics, and raw materials. Construction companies are paying more for paint, lumber, and hardware while waiting weeks and sometimes months to receive what they need.

Corporate America Fights an Uphill Battle

Against Anti-China Push

Chinese Vice Premier Liu with Steven Mnuchin
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He shakes hands with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as he arrives for a minister-level trade meeting in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.

Politico - U.S. corporate giants are scrambling to beat back anti-China sentiment in Congress and the Biden administration, aiming to avert crackdowns that would hurt their ability to do business in the world’s second-largest economy.

Since the spring, lobbying groups including the Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.-China Business Council and the National Retail Federation have been campaigning against congressional and White House moves to toughen trade and finance rules in response to China’s human rights abuses.

The groups say companies abhor the intimidation, forced labor conditions and general atmosphere of repression in China, particularly in Hong Kong and the northwestern region of Xinjiang. But they are also concerned that a trade crackdown could strangle investments U.S. firms have made in the world’s most populous nation.

“There's a huge consumer market in China. Most of the big U.S. companies are selling there. They're not just using it as an export platform. They're integrated into the economy in other ways,” said Rufus Yerxa, a former senior U.S. trade representative and WTO official who is now president of the National Foreign Trade Council.

Carolina World Trade Association

Founded in 1964, CWTA is a chapter of the North Carolina World Trade Association (NCWTA), which promotes growth of trade between North Carolina and the world by providing education and networking opportunities for our global ecosystem.

As a business-driven non-profit organization, CWTA’s mission is to promote, foster and encourage international commerce success and expand economic growth in the Carolinas region. We do this by:
  • Advocating the interests of businesses engaged in international trade on local, regional, state, and federal levels;
  • Educating businesses and their employees to the resources, issues, policies, and practices within international trade;
  • Promoting regional assets and opportunities for expanding inbound and outbound international commerce; and
  • Celebrating the successes of international trade in the region.
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