Today’s Pickup: more trade war madness

 ( Photo: )
( Photo: )

Good day,

Here we go again: it appears that the United States is once again at risk of sparking a trade war on multiple fronts. The US’s biggest trading partners, including Canada, Mexico, China, and the EU are all pushing back hard on the Trump administration’s protectionist policies by imposing tariffs of their own. 

Mexico unveiled tariffs on American steel as well as a range of agricultural products, from pork legs and cranberries to bourbon and Tennessee sippin’ whiskey. The European Union is levying tariffs on American yachts, cigarettes, and jeans. Canada published tables of American goods that it would subject to tariffs: steel products like rebar and pipeline tubes will be hit with a 25% duty while other commodities, ranging from ketchup, insecticide, plywood, postcards, and aluminum foil will get 10% tariffs. 

But all may not be lost: just this morning, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that “China offered to purchase nearly $70 billion of U.S. farm and energy products if the Trump administration abandons threatened tariffs, according to people briefed on the latest negotiations with American trade officials.”

Did you know?

As of Tuesday, Mexico will impose tariffs of 15 percent to 25 percent on U.S. steel products, the Mexican economy ministry said in a list published in the government’s official gazette.


“I think that the authorities are being abused, and I think a number of people around here do. So we’re crafting some legislation, working with other offices to try to pull back some of those authorities to Congress. What the legislation we’re working on would do would be to make sure before those things could even occur you’d have to get congressional approval.”

-Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), on the Trump Administration’s use of tariffs

In other news:

Transports, on a tear, could be flashing the all-clear sign for stocks

“If you look at what has driven the rally for the last 12 months, it has been a strong global trade story. That would naturally benefit trucks, rails and airlines,” Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global, said on “Trading Nation.” (CNBC)

Top 25 airfreight forwarders: DHL still at the top but Kuhne+Nagel closes the gap

DHL Global Forwarding remained the world’s largest airfreight forwarder in 2017, but second placed Kuhne+Nagel continued to close the gap and the rest of the major players enjoyed a bumper year. (Air Cargo News)

Cargo ship still bound for Sydney loses 86 shipping containers overboard in storm

The YM Efficiency hit heavy seas off Newcastle, Australia, and lost the boxes of diapers, sanitary products, and surgical masks. At least 30 other containers still onboard the ship were damaged. (The NewDaily)

How China skirts America’s antidumping tariffs on steel

U.S. officials are confronting a strategic shift from China’s state-backed manufacturers. For the past several years, they have been shutting production at home and expanding overseas, fueled by tens of billions of dollars from Chinese state-owned lenders and funds. (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. Asks OPEC for 1 Million Barrel a Day Oil Output Hike

The U.S. government has quietly asked Saudi Arabia and some other OPEC producers to increase oil production by about 1 million barrels a day, according to people familiar with the matter. (Bloomberg)

Final Thoughts:

Many Congressional Republicans and Democrats are not happy about President Trump’s approach to trade policy, and they’re talking about passing a law that will rein in some of the White House’s authority. Chad Prevost reported this morning that Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has been spearheading the Senate’s resistance to Trump’s tariffs, especially those with the United States’ allies. 

Corker tweeted he was “working with like-minded Republican senators on ways to push back on the president using authorities in ways never intended and that are damaging to our country and our allies. Will Democrats join us?”

Hammer down everyone!

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John Paul Hampstead, Associate Editor

John Paul writes about current events and economics, especially politics, finance, and commodities, and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. In previous lives John Paul studied Shakespeare in London and Buddhism in India, but now he focuses on transportation and logistics in the heart of Freight Alley--Chattanooga. He spends his free time with his wife and daughter herding cats, collecting books, and walking alongside the Tennessee River.