Steel, Tariffs, Trade War – Beyond Trump #2

7 Mar 2018

This is good info, before we started penalizing Chinese steel in 2016, on how these unfair trade practices persists. There is much more at the link.

Surging Steel Imports Put Up To Half a Million U.S. Jobs at Risk – Economic Policy Institute, 2014/05/13

The U.S. steel industry is facing its worst import crisis in more than a decade. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, steelmakers in other countries, backed by aggressive government support, continued to add production capacity as demand stagnated. The open and large U.S. market became the prime target for the massive excess supply stemming from this excess capacity, and, since 2011, U.S. steel imports have surged and import unit values have plummeted.

Surging imports of unfairly traded steel are threatening U.S. steel production, which supports more than a half million U.S. jobs across every state of the nation. The import surge has depressed domestic steel production and revenues, leading to sharp declines in net income in the U.S. steel industry over the past two years (2012–2013), layoffs for thousands of workers, and reduced wages for many more.

So what I am understanding is that the Chinese (primarily, and probably a couple of other countries) is trying to undercut the market, wipe out international competition, and increase their world market share. They are flooding the steel market with excess supply which lowers prices. Many of these Chinese steel producers are owned or controlled by the government, and received government subsidies. So they have they money of the entire national at their disposal to flood the market.

So what I am seeing with these tariffs are protection and support for the steel producers in the country.  While at the same time, there will be some pain for those on the back end, who purchase the steel to make their products.  Hopefully the pain will be for the short term.


U.S. Steel follows tariff promise with plans to restart Illinois furnace – Pittsbugh Post Gazette, 2018/03/07

U.S. Steel announced Wednesday that it will restart one of two blast furnaces and the steelmaking facilities at its Granite City Works in Illinois, recalling about 500 employees.

The mill restart comes on the heels of President Donald J. Trump’s announcement that he would seeking tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Getting the mill running again could take up to four months, the company said.


Steel, Tariffs, Trade War – Beyond Trump

7 Mar 2018

If you are interested in the issue, beyond using it as leverage to bash Trump, here is more info…

The Problem With U.S. Tariffs On Steel And Aluminum That No One Is Talking About – Forbes, 2018/03/05

Critics of the U.S. action have enumerated a number of reasons for concern, including the possibility of tit-for-tat retaliation from impacted trade partners, a further weakening of the WTO, domestic economic distortions in the U.S. as a narrow industry is protected at the expense of downstream producers, and ultimately, higher prices for consumers.

Most of these points have at least some validity, and some are entirely valid. All should be carefully weighed.

But at the same time there is another side to this coin which doesn’t receive as much attention. The simple fact of the matter is that a number of countries are undeniably engaging in unfair and even predatory trade practices in the steel and aluminum sectors which are damaging to their trade partners.

To put the magnitude of the overcapacity issue in perspective: experts maintain that the world needs about 400 million tons of excess steel capacity. Today, we have roughly 730 million tons. About half of that is in China, which has grown to be the world’s largest steel producer.

So Trump may be fighting a larger issue that goes beyond the simple relationship with other countries and the immediate impact that this would have on jobs.

Back in 2016, we put a bunch of duties and levies on Chinese steel because of their strategy to create an advantage for themselves by overproducing and lowering prices. The EU did the same thing last year.

China produces half of the world’s steel, and we now have an oversupply that’s almost double. If no action is taken, then they could likely increase their share of the world’s steel market and wipe out much of the international competition. Because of the levies and duties, we only import around 2% of our steel from China. However, they still import steel to all of the other countries and that has an effect on the global market.

There is going to be pain one way or another. Jobs would be impacted if the Chinese corner the overwhelming majority of the steel market. Jobs will be impacted if we rock the boat with these tariffs. It seems like the tariffs takes the short term pain now approach, instead of the long term pain of the Chinese cornering the market and forcing international steel producers out of business.

I am not an expert on this… I am just researching to understand the issue.

Details of Russian Trolling Found in Data Leak

2 Mar 2018

Leaked: Secret Documents From Russia’s Election Trolls – The Daily Beast, 2018/03/01

After completing its recon, a key tactic of the troll farm was to present its offerings as authentically American. They stole actual Americans’ identities and established false cover identities online. A consistent approach was to posture as supporters of passionate causes. But those causes varied wildly across the political spectrum. Some Internet Research Agency-created accounts pretended to be Muslim groups, others anti-Muslim activists. They were advocates of black liberation on one hand and its most fervent American critics on the other—whatever was necessary to aggravate long-standing and very real American divisions.

Social media—particularly YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—magnified the troll farm’s reach. The money flowing into the Internet Research Agency’s coffers paid for a graphics department, data analytics, and other tools to improve their product, and they tailored their English-language propaganda to show up prominently in Google searches. One employee bragged: “I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed that it was written by their people.”

But spreading misinformation on social media wasn’t enough. By summer 2016, the Internet Research Agency wanted to prompt Americans into the streets. Using tools like Facebook’s events page, they staged and promoted rallies for Donald Trump and against Clinton.

Basically if there was a major issue of contention in our society, they wanted to hype it up and make it worse – in order to divide the country. What that should also tell us is that a unified country makes us stronger. That does not mean we all think the same on every issue, but we should seek the best of the country and want the best for fellow citizens.

North Korea Bombed Itself with Test Missile Last Year

4 Jan 2018

Last year, North Korea test fired a ballistic missile. That test failed, as the missile never left the territory of North Korea.

North Korea ballistic missile test fails, NBC News confirms – CNBC, 2017/04/28

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Saturday in local time, but the missile exploded soon after launch, U.S. officials told NBC News.

The officials said that the failed test involved a short-range, non-nuclear missile, which would be able to hit Seoul, but not Japan.

Well, it has come to light concerning where that test missile ended up.

When a North Korean Missile Accidentally Hit a North Korean City – The Diplomat, 2018/01/03

On April 28, 2017, North Korea launched a single Hwasong-12/KN17 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) from Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province (the Korean People’s Army’s Air and Anti-Air Force Unit 447 in Ryongak-dong, Sunchon City, to be more precise). That missile failed shortly after launch and crashed in the Chongsin-dong, in North Korean city of Tokchon, causing considerable damage to a complex of industrial or agricultural buildings.

The missile never flew higher than approximately 70 kilometers. The location of the missile’s eventual impact was revealed exclusively to The Diplomat and evidence of the incident can be independently corroborated in commercially available satellite imagery from April and May 2017.

Middle East Starting to Fear Trump, U.S. – Changes Course Regarding Jerusalem

2 Jan 2018

The hard stance that Trump has taken is starting to show fruit. This is HUGE. The whole article needs to be read.

Displeased with Palestinians, Arab states chart new Jerusalem policy – Israel Hayom, 2017/12/30

Fearing that PA-led moves in response to U.S. Jerusalem declaration will undermine its special status in the city, Jordan teams up with Egypt, Saudi Arabia to devise new policy • Official says Arab states fear U.S. will punish those who act against it.

Sources in Ramallah, Cairo and Amman told Israel Hayom that the decision to establish the committee was made after it became apparent that the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to counter Trump’s announcement had been ineffective.

“This is a super committee that is headed by the secretary general of the Arab League, and it effectively puts the Arab League in charge of the policy on Jerusalem, taking it away from the Palestinians.

“The Palestinians’ efforts to sway public opinion have been a complete failure, and as a result, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has created a rift between us [the Arab world] and Trump.

Referring to the non-binding U.N. General Assembly resolution calling on the U.S. to reverse its decision on Jerusalem, the source said, “Washington has made its views clear and said it would take action against those nations that voted against it at the U.N. General Assembly last week. Now, when it is clear Trump is indeed going to punish those that voted against the U.S., most countries are trying to cut their losses.

Do you understand the shift that is happening?

1- Their temper tantrum didn’t work. They weren’t coddled – as has been the case in the recent past.
2- The adults over there are now understanding that Trump ain’t playing and are falling in line.
3- The Palestinian Authority is being put in the corner, while the adults try and clean up the mess.

This is what’s supposed to happen. And don’t underestimate that $285M cut to the U.N. That was a signal to them as well.


Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has been disappointed that only several thousand Palestinians rioted in the wake of Trump’s Jerusalem proclamation. Officials in Ramallah have been particularly concerned by the weekly drop in the number of Palestinians protesters in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria.

The Palestinians’ doomsday warnings that the decision on Jerusalem would set the region ablaze have failed to materialize and the relative apathy on the Palestinian street has led to a mild response from the Arab world as well, particularly from the moderate Sunni states.

This is great news. Either they don’t care… or the funds of the leaders are drying up and they can’t pay people to fight… or they realize we are serious now. Whatever the case may be, the rank and file aren’t fighting against us, and the leaders have blinked and are changing their course.

Trump Denies Funds to Pakistan

2 Jan 2018

Is Trump admin giving up on Pakistan? US to deny military aid worth $255 million – Hindustan Times, 2017/12/30

The Trump administration on Friday announced the United States will deny Pakistan military aid amounting to $255 million as it expects Islamabad to take decisive action “against terrorists and militants on its soil”.

The amount, $255 million, is left over from $1.1 billion aid earmarked for Pakistan in 2016, and which included non-military aid as well. It was cleared for handing over in August, just days before it would lapsed as unspent money.

The Trump administration was clear from the start it wouldn’t countenance continuity in ties and aid without real changes. “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” President Donald Trump had said unveiling his new South Asia strategy in August. “But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.”

Great…more please…

Refugee Admissions Way Down from Last Year

4 Dec 2017

2017/12/04 – Refugee Admissions to U.S. Down 83% in First Two Months of FY18 – CNS News

Refugee admissions to the United States were down 83 percent in the first two months of fiscal 2018 (October and November) compared to the first two months of fiscal 2017.

A total of only 3,108 refugees were admitted in October and November down from the 18,300 refugees who were admitted in October and November of last year.

The article also includes stats on the religious breakdown of the refugees… more Christians, less Muslims.