Trade War Watch 6: China Escalates Against Escalades

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
trade war watch 6 china escalates against escalades

President Obama started a trade war by slapping a 35 percent punitive tariff on imported tires as a big “Thank you” to his friends at the United Steelworkers. Most industry observers think this was mentally challenged exercise: Production of cheap tires will be shifted to other countries. Not a single US job will be created. Jobs will be lost and consumers will have to pay more.

The war is not going away. As a matter of fact, it is heating up. Not only did China lodge a formal complaint to the WTO. China has told the United States it is launching a trade investigation that could lead to new import duties on autos and sports utility vehicles made by Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, a U.S. industry official confirmed to Reuters.

The action will leave no happy faces with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who are in China right now for high-level talks aimed at resolving trade disputes between the two countries.

The man who started the war, President Barack Obama, will visit China in mid-November.

“The documents containing the charges were presented by China to the U.S. government this week, but have not yet been translated. Therefore we are not in a position to comment on the matter at this time,” Steve Collins, president of the American Automotive Policy Council said.

Collins estimates that the traditional Big Three U.S. automakers export about 9,000 vehicles per year to China. Total U.S. passenger car exports to China — which would also include those made by manufacturers such as BMW and Nissan — were $1.1 billion in 2008. A nice tit-for-tat. “The value of Chinese tire exports to the U.S. totaled $1.8 billion last year,” writes the Wall Street Journal, “in a market segment worth $16 billion a year.” You don’t buy our tires, we’ll escalate and you won’t sell Escalades.

In the meantime, the war threatens to veer out of control as U.S. textile, steel and some other manufacturers gather sponsors in the Senate and House of Representatives for a bill that would allow the United States to slap anti-dumping duties on goods from countries that “undervalue” their currency. Obama’s Treasury Department decided this month against formally labeling China as a currency manipulator.

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  • Stewart Dean Stewart Dean on Oct 30, 2009
    dwford,carm: It’s time we stopped worrying about how much consumers are PAYING for goods and time we started worrying about how much workers were EARNING from PRODUCING goods! .... We should also stop padding the pockets of investors that make companies squeeze every last penny of profit from a product produced just to raise the stock price. Actually, investors that sit around fat, dumb and happy while management games the system by gutting the corporation to artificially show fantastic profits eventually get what they deserve: a bankrupt corporation and worthless stock, ex: GM. Of course, it's pretty hard on what used to be called the rest of the stakeholders. These days management is into resource extraction: they mine corporations until the lode plays out. And even if the investors are aware, the game is rigged against their intervention. A reinvention of the capitalist model is needed.
  • Stewart Dean Stewart Dean on Oct 30, 2009

    ...and yes, even a liberal can see that the tire decision was a blatant bad payoff, just like occurs everywhere in politics on both sides of the aisle. If that's the worse O does, I'll be happy enough. It's clear that what labor *should* be doing is trying to find some way that American labor can compete in jobs that the average Joe and Jill American can fill. There's no way that either the left or the right can make water run uphill, though both sides persist in riding their pet hobby horses.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.