Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

European firms consider pulling out of China amid US-China trade war

September 19, 2018

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China says the issue can be easily resolved if Beijing opens up further, takes away market access barriers and conducts more economic reforms

South China Morning Post

European companies operating in China are extremely worried about getting caught in the US-China trade war crossfire and some are considering relocating to Southeast Asia as punitive tariffs slapped by the world’s two largest economies take a toll on multinational firms, according to the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

US President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday an additional 10 per cent levy on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports from next Monday, the latest round of punitive trade tariffs on the world’s second-largest economy.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said it would fight back by taking “synchronised counter measures” against the tariffs.

A survey by the business lobby group found that nearly 54 per cent of nearly 200 respondents feel the US tariffs will cause significant disruptions to the global supply chain and some 7 per cent have either moved or are planning to move their production out of the mainland. And that percentage could rise as some companies were still assessing the impact from the trade war before they make their decision.

The survey also showed that 5.2 per cent European companies have either moved or are moving US-based production facilities out of the market.

“We believe that if China would open up more, take away the market access barriers, conduct more economic reforms without creating stronger state-owned enterprises, all of those [trade war and trade tensions] can be avoided,” said Carlo Diego D’Andrea, vice-president of the EU chamber.

Multinational companies plan to move production capacity to Southeast Asian markets such as Vietnam and Philippines to dodge the additional tariffs levied on the key parts which are imported from the US and used for assembling and processing in China.

The survey also anticipated that the trade war will result in slower economic growth, millions of job losses, less trade, higher production costs and weaker demand in China.

“Both [sides] are prone to losing companies as a result,” the EU chamber said.

The EU chamber said the cause for the trade war and the tensions in the global economic system was China’s reform and opening failing to keep pace with its rapidly maturing economy.

“European companies have for a long time been stifled by the efforts of China’s reform deficit, and now they are taking collateral damage from the US-China trade war,” said Mats Harborn, president of the EU chamber in China.

Last week, the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing and Shanghai found in a survey that three-quarters of US companies operating in China would be negatively impacted if the tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods were implemented.

More than 47 per cent of respondents from a survey of 430 US companies said they were expecting a “strong negative impact” from the tariffs.


Why China Is Brutally Suppressing Muslims

September 18, 2018

The assault on the Uighurs serves Beijing’s imperial ambitions, which require stable land borders.

Outside a mosque in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, 2017.
Outside a mosque in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, 2017. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGE

The repression of the Turkic Uighur Muslim community in western China—including the reported internment of up to a million people in secret camps—is a key part of Beijing’s new imperial policy. Only by understanding the dynamics of Chinese empire can one grasp this brutal campaign.

Xinjiang, a province home to millions of Uighurs, translates to “New Dominion.” The area has been historically and geographically known as East Turkestan. Though the Chinese state has existed for more than 3,500 years, Xinjiang first became part of China’s Qing Dynasty only in the mid-18th century. Since then it has often been in a condition the British explorer Fitzroy Maclean labeled as “sustained turbulence.”



When I first traveled through Xinjiang and interviewed Uighurs in 1994, their hatred of what they considered ethnic Han Chinese occupiers was complete. “This is Turkestan, not China. Chinese don’t learn our language, and many of us don’t learn theirs. Even on a personal level, relations are bad,” one young Uighur man told me.

Relations have worsened since. A deep, unspoken reason why China has never liberalized is its authoritarian leadership fears ethnic rebellion. Uprisings of this sort happened in the outer reaches of the Soviet Union after it liberalized in the 1980s. So China has kept its political system closed, while simultaneously pushing into Central Asia through diplomacy and economic interventions. It is building vast infrastructure projects in the region to ally with the Turkic Muslims of the former Soviet Union and deny China’s own Muslims a friendly rear base for future rebellion. China’s push beyond its borders ultimately has to do with demons within.

Because China historically has never been secure on land, particularly in this western region, it has not had the luxury of going to sea. Except for the Indian Ocean exploits of Adm. Zheng He during the early Ming Dynasty, China has had a demonstrably weak naval tradition. Yet China, mostly secure on land today, aims to posses the world’s largest navy. The intensifying suppression of the Uighur Muslims is the final act in this process. The Belt and Road Initiative—forging transportation corridors by land and sea across Eurasia—requires the complete subjugation of the Uighur population.

The heart of this 21st-century Silk Route is Central Asia. By building roads, railways and energy pipelines across the former Soviet Turkic republics, China will connect with Iran. A Chinese-Iranian economic and infrastructure alliance has the potential to dominate Eurasia, sidelining Russia. But this requires a compliant Uighur population, since all these road and energy pathways between coastal China and the Middle East must pass through Xinjiang.

The Chinese plan is to dilute traditional Uighur culture by forcing people into regimented apartment blocks and modernizing folkloric markets. They also seek to connect towns with new highways and high-speed rail, as I saw on a return visit to Xinjiang in 2015. And they are placing many thousands of Uighurs in internment camps while raising living standards for others—classic carrot-and-stick tactics. All this is designed to end Uighur Muslim culture as it exists today, to complete the Han Chinese domination of its most contentious borderland.

The media have focused on China drowning countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka in debt, so that it is awarded control of the ports and highways it builds there. Undercovered is the ethnic dimension of Chinese grand strategy across Eurasia. It deserves more attention: The desert home of the Uighur is the potential weak link in China’s Silk Route nexus.

Don’t underestimate national pride and resentment in this process. Hong Kong and Macao have been taken back from the European colonialists, formally ending an era of humiliating foreign intrusion in China’s core. Outer Mongolia’s sovereignty has been undermined significantly by Chinese economic interests. Tibet has been subjugated. Xinjiang now looms as the last holdout before Greater China is truly realized on land, allowing China to concentrate fully on dominating the East and South China seas. In turn this will open up the Indian Ocean, where China has been building and helping develop new ports between Myanmar and Djibouti. Who says that the age of empire has passed?

Because the U.S. is located half a world away, it is at a distinct disadvantage in thwarting this new imperial rise. Washington still has a geopolitical interest in making sure no individual state holds sway over the Eastern Hemisphere as the U.S. once influenced the Western Hemisphere. A Chinese Silk Route that runs through Iran and beyond, with a naval presence over the navigable southern rimland of Eurasia, would do that.

A policy of zero-sum bilateralism—the current American approach—forfeits the strongest asset the U.S. has in this struggle: a system of alliances undergirded by the American ideals of free markets, civil society and human rights. In this competition, holding China to account for its human-rights violations against the Uighurs is a component in a realist approach that also seeks to limit the Chinese navy in the South China Sea. Just as China’s suppression of the Uighurs is part of its grand strategy, America’s commitment to human rights in China should be part of its own approach.

Mr. Kaplan is author of “The Return of Marco Polo’s World: War, Strategy, and American Interests in the Twenty-First Century” (Random House, 2018). He is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a senior adviser at Eurasia Group.

Mangkhut: Typhoon claims 250,730 tonnes of paddy rice in the Philippines

September 17, 2018

The Philippines lost a total of 250,730 tonnes of paddy rice due to the strong typhoon that hit its northern provinces over the weekend, according to initial official estimates, exceeding a worst-case forecast by 60 percent.

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Residents ride a raft in floodwaters in San Mateo town of Rizal Province, east of Manila, Philippines, on Saturday. UPI photo

The Philippines, one of the world’s biggest rice importers, had been under pressure to boost its stocks of the grain even before Typhoon Mangkhut struck, with soaring retail prices helping to push inflation to its highest in nearly a decade.

The Department of Agriculture initially estimated crop damage at about 9.6 billion pesos ($177 million), but said that may increase as more field reports come in.

“We’re looking at about 11 to 12 billion (pesos) in agricultural damage,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

“It’s not a nice figure to look at.”

Image result for Typhoon Mangkhut, philippines, photos

Typhoon Mangkhut has swept over Hong Kong and Macau and on into China’s southeast province of Guangdong, after devastating the Philippines, where the death toll is likely to surpass 50.


Even before the storm hit, the Philippines had already planned to import an additional 383,500 tonnes of rice this year, on top of approved purchases earlier this year of more than 1 million tonnes.

The state grains procurement agency, National Food Authority, also has a “standby authority” to import an additional 250,000 tonnes for delivery early next year.

Prospects of new deals with the Philippines pushed up export prices last week from its main supplier Vietnam.

The nation’s rice crop losses from the typhoon were bigger than the agriculture ministry’s forecast of up to 157,000 tonnes in a worst-case scenario.

“The rice sector could recover because we have coordinated with the National Irrigation Administration … to not close the irrigation systems because right after the typhoon our farmers actually could replant,” Pinol said in the interview.

“But for corn, it’s a sad sight. Almost all crops were damaged,” he said. Pinol said he may recommend that the country also import corn to fill the possible shortfall.

Pinol downplayed the impact of rice crop losses on prices, saying there are still enough stocks in typhoon-hit regions and that the harvest season in other areas has begun.


Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Richard Pullin and Tom Hogue

Vietnam urges Facebook to open office ahead of controversial cyber law

September 14, 2018

Vietnam has asked Facebook to open a local office as the Communist-ruled country increases pressure on global technology firms to abide by a controversial cyber security law.

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A woman looks at the Facebook logo on an iPad in this photo illustration taken June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/Illustration

Critics of the law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019, say it gives Hanoi more power to crack down on dissent because it would require Facebook, Google and other global technology firms to store locally personal data on users in Vietnam and open offices in the country.

“Acting information minister Nguyen Manh Hung suggested Facebook, given its successful business in Vietnam, should reserve revenue to invest in research and development and soon open an office in Vietnam,” the official government website said late on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said she had no comment.

Despite sweeping economic reforms and growing openness to social change, the ruling Communist Party tolerates little dissent and exercises strict control over media in Vietnam.

Global tech firms have pushed back against the provisions for locally-stored data, but they have not taken the same tough stance on the parts of the law which bolster the government’s ability to crackdown on online political activism.

Company officials have, however, privately expressed concerns that local data centers and offices could make it easier for the authorities to seize customer data and expose local employees to the threat of arrest.

Simon Milner, Facebook’s vice-president of public policy for Asia Pacific, met on Thursday with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting in Hanoi.

Phuc said Facebook should be responsible for the security, safety and protection of its 60 million user accounts in Vietnam, the government website quoted the prime minister as saying at the meeting.

Gil Kaplan, Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce, said on Monday he would raise the cyber security issue in his meetings this week with Vietnamese government officials, including the Prime Minister.

In July, seventeen U.S. lawmakers urged the chief executives of Facebook and Google to resist changes stipulated by the new law.

Last week, acting information minister Hung said Vietnam should promote home-grown social networks in order to compete with Google and Facebook and capture more of the social network market share in Vietnam, state media reported.

Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by James Pearson


Japan, Vietnam urge US to rejoin Pacific trade deal

September 13, 2018

Japan and Vietnam on Thursday urged the United States to rejoin a sprawling Pacific trade deal, almost two years after President Donald Trump’s withdrawal dealt a major blow to what would have been the world’s largest free trade pact.

Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal in one of his first post-election moves as part of his “America First” clarion call, declaring the 12-nation trade pact a “job killer”.

The 11 remaining countries have pledged to move ahead with the deal, which could go into effect by the end of this year, although in a significantly watered-down version without the US.

They have kept a door open for Washington’s return, and have also not ruled out allowing other non-Pacific countries to join the deal.

Japan’s foreign minister on Thursday encouraged the US to come back to the pact, speaking at a regional World Economic Forum (WEF) where concerns over trade protectionism have dominated discussions.

© POOL/AFP | Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh encouraged the US to come back to the Pacific trade pact

“We believe TPP is still the best option for (the) United States,” Taro Kono said.

“It will be very attractive for American industries, American farmers to join it.”

Japan, the largest remaining economy in the TPP, has led the charge to keep it alive.

The newly rebranded deal, dubbed the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) and which forms a market of 500 million people, could go into effect by the end of 2018, Kono added.

Vietnam’s foreign minister Pham Binh Minh echoed Kono’s appeal, calling the deal “a very high-standard agreement”.

Vietnam stood to be the biggest winner from US involvement before Trump’s withdrawal from the pact, which would have opened access to US markets for its cheap manufactured goods — from shoes and shirts to mobile phones and computer processors.

For smaller signatories like Vietnam, unfettered access to US markets was a major draw.

In its original iteration, the free trade bloc would have made up 38 percent of the global economy. Today, the remaining signatories comprise about 13.5 percent.

Japan and Vietnam’s comments come after Trump said in April the US could re-enter the agreement if it was a “better” deal.

Leaders at this year’s regional WEF summit for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have railed against protectionism and called for breaking down trade barriers.

Trade in the region has grown at breakneck pace in the past decade, transforming some of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries into fast-growing export economies.

Earlier at the summit, which closes Thursday, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo compared trade disputes to “infinity wars” — a reference to the latest Avengers movie — vowing to fight protectionism.

“Not since the Great Depression of the 1930s have trade wars erupted with the intensity that they have today,” said the leader, who is seeking re-election next year.

“But rest assured I and my fellow avengers stand ready to prevent Thanos from wiping out half the world population,” he said, referring to the film’s villain.


Vietnam Hosts World’s Top Human Rights Abusers at World Economic Forum, Shuts Out Independent Media and Human Rights NGOs

September 12, 2018

A Vietnamese dissident was jailed Wednesday for 12 years on charges of trying to overthrow the state, days after the communist country refused entry to rights campaigners for a major business forum in Hanoi.

Vietnam has a dismal rights record and has come under fire for a brutal crackdown against critics in the past two years that has seen scores jailed.

Earlier this week it barred two rights campaigners from entering the country for the World Economic Forum attended by regional leaders — many of whom face criticism for their own rights record at home.

© Vietnam News Agency/AFP/File | In April, six members of the Brotherhood for Democracy, which has chapters across the country, were jailed on anti-state charges, including co-founder Nguyen Van Dai who was later quietly released and exiled to Germany

Nguyen Trung Truc, a member of the Brotherhood for Democracy group, was sentenced to 12 years in jail for attempting to overthrow the state, his lawyer said after his half-day trial in central Quang Binh province.

The 44-year-old denied the charges, while his lawyer said Truc was not given a fair chance in court.

“I didn’t intend to overthrow anyone. I only supported and praised democracy, human rights and environmental protection in Vietnam,” Truc said in court, according to his attorney Nguyen Van Mieng.

Truc is the latest Brotherhood for Democracy member jailed in Vietnam, where political parties, public protests and independent media are all banned.

In April, six members of the the group, which has chapters across the country, were jailed on anti-state charges, including co-founder Nguyen Van Dai who was later quietly released and exiled to Germany.

Wednesday’s trial came as regional leaders, including Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Cambodian strongman Hun Sen and Singaporean leader Lee Hsien Loong — who have come under fire for their grim rights record — gathered in Hanoi for a WEF summit with business bigwigs that closes Thursday.

Representatives from Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) were set to attend the meeting but were denied entry by Vietnam, which does not allow international rights groups to have offices in the country.

At least 97 activists are behind bars in Vietnam as of April this year, with some 40 convicted this year on various anti-state charges.

One jailed dissident, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2010, has been on a hunger strike for 30 days to send a message to authorities to improve rights in the country, his family told AFP.

“We’re shocked and so worried for him because he had made a very difficult and dangerous decision (not to eat),” Thuc’s brother Tran Huynh Duy Tan said.


Time to stamp out currency manipulation for good

September 12, 2018

China can put an end to currency manipulation

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Beijing’s interests are now aligning with those of its American rival

By Robin Harding

Donald Trump has a point when he complains about foreigners who “rip us off on trade”. There are countries that do just that. But while the US president chases phantoms of tariffs and trade deals, the real sharp practice is currency manipulation.

In the 1990s and 2000s, numerous countries — but most notably China — held down their currencies in order to run a large trade surplus. This came at the expense of US (and UK) deficits. The actions of currency manipulators sped the decline of western manufacturers and contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.

Some countries still manipulate their currency today. Stopping them would be an excellent way to tackle global trade imbalances. That Mr Trump has launched a round of pointless tariff wars is doubly unfortunate, because there is a golden opportunity to forge a new alliance against currency manipulation, and end the practice for good.

The opportunity exists because the most important former manipulators, China and Japan, no longer undervalue their currencies. What is more, and whether they realise it or not, the fundamental interests of these East Asian giants have changed: they now have more to lose from the currency manipulation of others than they can gain by intervention of their own. The time is ripe for change.

According to Joseph Gagnon and Tessa Morrison of the Peterson Institute, seven non-resource exporting countries met their criteria for currency intervention between 2015 and 2017: Switzerland, Macau, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Israel and Thailand. Korea and Sweden intervened at levels slightly below their cut-off. Brad Setser of the Council on Foreign Relations suggests that Vietnam now belongs on the list as well. The precise form of intervention varies from country to country, but the outcome is the same.

Some of these countries have truly enormous current account surpluses. According to the IMF, Taiwan had a surplus of 14.5 per cent of gross domestic product in 2017. Singapore’s surplus was 18.8 per cent. In Thailand it was 10.6 per cent. Such figures are completely unjustified and, collectively, these countries matter. Their surpluses are deficits for somebody else.

One country no longer on anybody’s list is China. During the 2000s, Beijing manipulated the renminbi on an epic scale, but by 2015 it was selling foreign reserves to stem capital outflows and prop up its currency. The renminbi has fallen this year as Mr Trump piles on tariffs, but the evidence suggests that is down to market pressures, not intervention.

Might China return to large-scale currency manipulation in the future? It seems unlikely. China is now a mighty economic power, too large to peg its exchange rate easily. Doing so would risk capital flight; halting capital flight would mean imposing tough new capital controls. Devaluation might be a tempting way to retaliate against Mr Trump but it is no longer in China’s long-term best interest.

Currency manipulation is no longer in Japan’s best interest, either. Tokyo sometimes threatens to weaken the yen but it would do better to forswear the tool altogether. As the world’s largest creditor, with its fast-ageing population, Japan has little to gain from making its exports artificially cheap.

Both Japan and China still have current account surpluses. But if they do refrain from currency manipulation, they have little reason to tolerate it in others. Countries such as Vietnam and Thailand compete with China’s existing exports. Taiwan and Korea export products that Japan makes today and China wants to make in the future, such as memory chips and flat-panel displays.

So far, both China and Japan seem blind to this reality. They are still locked in the mindset of their own past interventions, when the currency was a vital economic tool. But just as they are discovering a shared interest in free trade, Tokyo and Beijing should realise that they have more to lose from currency manipulation by their neighbours.

Such are Japan and China’s economic interests, should they but recognise them. Whether they come to the fore will depend on geopolitics and Mr Trump. China and Japan compete for influence throughout Asia: there is no chance of them acting in unison. The position of South Korea and Taiwan, so close to China, means they usually enjoy gentle treatment from Washington on economic policy. Sweden and Switzerland are in the difficult position of competing with Germany, which can thank the euro for its own enormous surplus, no manipulation required.

With Mr Trump so set on tariffs, it may be hard to draw any attention to currency policy, but if the G20 wants to find common ground with the US president then it is one place to look. There are other possible allies. The UK has always been oddly passive about a problem that affects it at least as much as the US. Post-Brexit, London may wake up.

China’s past currency manipulation helped to poison the politics of global trade. Now it is suffering the backlash, in the shape of Mr Trump. One answer is for Beijing to repent, join with its tormentor and stamp out currency manipulation for good.

China Companies Move Overseas To Escape U.S. Tariffs

September 11, 2018

A growing number of Chinese companies are adopting a crafty way to evade US President Donald Trump’s tariffs: remove the “Made in China” label by shifting production to countries such as Vietnam, Serbia and Mexico.

The world’s two largest economies have been locked in a months-long trade fight after Trump imposed 25 percent customs duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods this summer, triggering a swift tit-for-tat response from Beijing.

© AFP/File | China’s textiles factories are among those looking to relocate abroad to avoid US tariffs

Chinese factories making everything from bikes to tyres, plastics and textiles are moving assembly lines abroad to skirt higher customs taxes on their exports to the United States and elsewhere, according to public filings.

Hl Corp, a Shenzhen-listed bike parts maker, made clear to investors last month that tariffs were in mind when it decided to move production to Vietnam.

The factory will “reduce and evade” the impact of tariffs, management wrote, noting Trump hit e-bikes in August, with new border taxes planned for bicycles and their parts.

Trump warned last week those tariffs — targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports — could come “very soon”.

“It’s inevitable that the new duties will lead companies to review their supply chains globally — overnight they will become 25 percent less competitive than they were,” said Christopher Rogers, a supply chain expert at trade data firm Panjiva.

Supply chains have already begun relocating out of China in recent years as its rising labour and environmental protection costs have made the country less attractive.

Tariffs are adding fuel to the fire, experts and companies say.

“China-US trade frictions are accelerating the trend of the global value chain changing shape,” said Cui Fan, research director at the China Society of WTO Studies, a think tank affiliated with the commerce ministry.

“The shifting abroad of labour-intensive assembly could bring unemployment problems and this needs to be closely watched,” Cui said, adding the shift would not help the US’s overall trade deficit.

– Chinese firms race abroad –

The growing list of foreign firms moving supply chains away from China — toy company Hasbro, camera maker Olympus, shoe brands Deckers and Steve Madden, among many others — already has Beijing worried.

Less discussed are the Chinese factories doing the same.

Zhejiang Hailide New Material ships much of its industrial yarns, tyre cord fabric, and printing materials from its plant in eastern Zhejiang province to the US and other countries.

Trump’s first wave of tariffs on $50 billion in goods this summer hit some of its exports; the next round of $200 billion looks like it will hit several more.

“Currently all of our company’s production is in China. To better evade the risks of anti-dumping cases and tariff hikes, our company has after lengthy investigation decided to set up a factory in Vietnam,” executives told investors last month.

“We hope to speed up its construction, and hope in the future it can handle production for the American market,” a company vice president said of the $155 million investment that will ramp up production by 50 percent.

Other moves abroad spurred on by tariff risks include a garment maker going to Myanmar, a mattress company opening a plant in Thailand and an electronic motor producer acquiring a Mexico-based factory, according to public filings from the firms.

Linglong Tyre is relying mostly on low cost credit to build a $994 million plant in Serbia.

The entire tyre industry faces a “grim trade friction situation”, Linglong told investors last month, citing “one after another” anti-dumping cases against China.

“Building a factory abroad allows ‘indirect growth,’ by evading international trade barriers.”

– Bike industry shifts gear –

China’s bike industry faces a similar pivotal moment. The centre of manufacturing will shift away from China in the future, bike part maker H1 Corp told investors when announcing its Vietnam factory.

Some of Hl’s customers started moving production — especially of e-bikes — to Vietnam, said Alex Lee, in charge of global sales at Hl Corp.

“First of all there is no anti-dumping tax on Vietnam,” Lee said, adding labour costs were lower there as well.

China’s growing e-bike industry faces duties not only from the US but also the European Union, which slapped provisional anti-dumping tariffs of 22 to 84 percent on Chinese-made e-bikes in July, alleging Chinese companies benefited from cut-rate aluminium and other state subsidies.

The state support Chinese companies receive is key to the Trump administration’s case in taxing Chinese goods, but Hl shows how companies may continue to benefit even after shifting some of their production overseas.

Government subsidies, including millions of yuan to “enhance company competitiveness”, eclipsed H1’s profit during the first six months of the year, its filings show.

Still the company went ahead and bought an operating factory in Vietnam.

Lee noted they had transferred mass production of aluminium forks and steering parts to the new plant from their factory in Tianjin.

He did not know if it would lead to job cuts in China.

China engages in Australia’s largest maritime drill for first time

September 9, 2018

China is participating for the first time in Australia’s largest maritime exercise as more than 3,000 personnel from 27 countries engage in joint training off the strategic northern port of Darwin.

Exercise Kakadu is hosting 23 ships and submarines from across the Indo-Pacific region, enabling them to establish familiarity which helps to prevent conflict on the high seas and to coordinate disaster relief efforts.

Commander Anita Sellick of the Australian frigate HMAS Newcastle said two Royal Australian Navy sailors were accepted onto China’s naval frigate Huangshan during the drill.

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China guided missile destroyer Huangshan

“Two of our Australian navy sailors are across actually, right now in the Chinese ship. So they’ve both been able to integrate within each other’s navy and learn a little bit of what life is like for them today in Exercise Kakadu,” Sellick told Reuters on Saturday.

Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, told reporters in Darwin in a televised interview on Friday that there were mutual benefits in building understanding and trust during the exercise.

The joint military practice, which will continue until Sept. 15, is supported by the Royal Australian Air Force and involves 21 aircraft.

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Royal Australian Navy sailors stand with officers from the Chinese Navy aboard the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Newcastle during Australia’s largest maritime exercise ‘Exercise Kakadu’ being conducted off the coast of Darwin in northern Australia, September 8, 2018. Picture taken September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jill Gralow

Darwin, on the doorstep of Asia, is Australia’s most strategically important city and has been home to a contingent of U.S. Marines since 2011 making it the logical place for the exercise.

Integrating the People’s Liberation Army Navy into the biennial training with American, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian forces for the first time has given China an opportunity to improve its working relationship with those countries, which has been tense at times.

In April, three Australian warships had a challenging encounter with China as they passed through the South China Sea. Then in May, the United States disinvited China from joint naval exercises off Hawaii in response to what it called China’s militarization of disputed areas of the South China Sea, an allegation Beijing rejects.

The participating countries in Exercise Kakadu are: China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Cook Islands, Fiji, France, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Tonga, United Arab Emirates, U.S., Australia, and Vietnam.

(Reporting by Alison Bevege; editing by Grant McCool)