Today’s Pickup: tariff battle pushed to point of no return

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Good day,

President Trump is pushing his trade conflict with China toward a point where neither side can back down, according to Bloomberg. By Aug. 30, as the U.S. nears mid-term elections vital for Trump’s legislative agenda, the White House will be ready to impose 10% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese-made products. The levies announced Tuesday—together with some $50 billion already in the works—stand to raise import prices on almost half of everything the U.S. buys from China.

China has seven weeks to make a deal or resist and try to outlast Trump. President Xi Jinping, facing his own political pressures to look tough, has vowed to respond blow-for-blow. He’s already imposed retaliatory duties targeting Trump’s base including Iowa soybeans and Kentucky bourbon. That risks provoking Trump to follow through on threats to tax virtually all Chinese products. It could also fuel a deeper struggle for geopolitical dominance.

“It’s already past the point of no return,” said Pauline Loong, managing director at research firm Asia-Analytica in Hong Kong. “What’s next is not so much a trade war or even a cold war as the dawn of an ice age in relations between China and the United States.”

Did you know?

Data on producer prices shows that overall inflation pressure continued to heat up in the economy, as gains in service prices helped to push up.


“At every event where I’ve spoken about blockchain, privacy and competitive intelligence was a top concern…Privacy and competitive intelligence should be much less of a stumbling block for companies wanting to share data on a need-to-know basis, via blockchain.”

—Daniel Pickett, FreightWaves’ chief data scientist

In other news:

How Trump’s trade war went from 18 products to 10,000

A timeline of the current state of the trade war. (The New York Times)

OmniTRAX affiliate acquires two rail lines from CSX

An OmniTRAX Inc. affiliate has acquired the Alabama & Tennessee River Railway LLC (ATN) and the Fulton County Railway LLC (FCR) from CSX. (Progressive Railroading)

Ex-Apple worker charged with stealing self-driving car trade secrets

U.S. authorities charged a former Apple employee with stealing trade secrets on Monday, accusing him of downloading a blueprint related to a self-driving car to a personal laptop before trying to flee the country for China. (Reuters)

Walmart to enter New York City—not with a store, but an ecommerce center, an online startup bought by Walmart, will open a warehouse in the Bronx to expand its fast grocery delivery services. (WSJ)

The world’s biggest companies are set to decarbonize their products

Low-carbon products will make up at least half of the products and services of many of the world’s biggest companies within a decade, a new survey has revealed, while a fifth of those questioned said that every single one of their products would be low-carbon by 2028. (Forbes)

Final Thoughts:

A new feature introduced on the most recent release of the most popular enterprise blockchain platform will make it much easier for companies to collaborate with each other. On July 3, the Hyperledger project released Hyperledger Fabric 1.2, a new version of the permissioned blockchain infrastructure. Fabric is essentially a software development kit for companies who want to build enterprise blockchains—it doesn’t come with a user-facing component but is meant to be integrated with existing systems.

Private data collections’, which were an experimental feature in the 1.1 release, have been made official in this latest Fabric version. Companies participating in a blockchain project based on previous versions of Fabric had to share everything or nothing with their peer nodes. 

Hammer down everyone!

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Chad Prevost

Chad is radio host and broadcast media specialist for FreightWaves.