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Today’s pickup: U.S. negotiator said to aim for ‘roll back’ of China’s economic advances

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But President Trump still hopeful a deal can be done; tariffs costing both sides billions, and truckers plan one-day labor action for April.

Good day,

This was supposed to be the last day before the U.S. kicked up tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent. But a late November reprieve delayed that move until March, giving U.S. and Chinese negotiators more time to work out a new trade deal. So how far along are those negotiations? President Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend that after a call with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that a “(d)eal is moving along very well” and “(b)ig progress being made!” Despite the turmoil to stock markets caused by the trade uncertainty, the U.S. may still be taking a hard line on the issue. The Atlantic profiled the lead U.S. negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative. According to the article’s author, Lighthizer’s goal is “roll back China’s advances on the global economy.” A former lobbyist for the steel industry, Lighthizer believes the American steel industry was a victim of a “war China has been waging for decades,” the article said. In Lighthizer’s view, the World Trade Organization has been ineffective in checking China’s trade heft, requiring the unilateral actions of the U.S. over the past year. 

Did you know?

The U.S. and China are losing about $2.9 billion annually due to tariffs imposed on U.S. soybeans and the higher prices being paid by Chinese consumers, Purdue University agricultural economist Wally Tyner tell Reuters. 


“We might have an interim deal that prevents a further escalation of hostilities.”

Eswar Prasad, Cornell University professor speaking about upcoming talks between the U.S. and China.

In other news:

Trailers serving as temporary storage

Inventory stocking ahead of tariffs means tight warehouse space. (WSJ)

Port of Virginia sees record barge volume  

Richmond Barge Service leads to additional speculative warehouse projects in the region. (DC Velocity)

Survey reveals least loved stop for truck drivers

Grocery stores top list for delays and lack of detention pay (Business Insider)

Trucking firm fined for fish kill

Indiana regulators accuse TX Loadrunners of chemical spill that affected nearby creek. (The Star Press)

OPEC said to mull further output cuts

Algerian energy minister sees oil back to $70 per barrel by early spring. (Platts)

Final Thoughts

A group of truckers plans to make their grievances about hours of service and electronic logging device mandates known to a broader audience. The group, called Black Smoke Matters, plan a single day shutdown for April 12. 2019. The group, which has about 6,000 members on Facebook, is pushing to reform hours of service rules, to exempt smaller carriers from the electronic logging device mandate, to improve access to truck parking, and to get more driver input on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. The group staged its first action at the National Mall in Washington D.C. in October, shutting down a portion of I-95 to bring attention to these issues.

Hammer down everyone!