Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
Trump's 'America First' May Force China, Europe to Set Aside Trade Differences (Bloomberg) Donald Trump is forcing the European Union and China to decide how willing they are to set aside trade tensions that go back decades. As the U.S. president pushes his mantra of “America First", German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping are taking almost every opportunity to affirm their commitment to free trade. Just last week, they agreed on a phone call “to continue their trusting cooperation" on open markets.
The challenge, say trade officials, will be using those warm words to overcome knotty issues that have soured China-EU relations for years. Just over a decade ago, the so-called Bra Wars highlighted European angst about cheap Chinese textiles undercutting domestic manufacturers, and tensions continue to simmer over solar power, steel and even bicycles. Meanwhile, populist groups like Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France are running for election on an anti-free trade ticket.
Trump says U.S. 'must be paid more' to defend Germany (Associated Press) President Donald Trump said on Saturday that Germany owes "vast sums of money" to NATO and the U.S. "must be paid more" for providing defense, reiterating his stance that European allies need to meet their end of the bargain if they are to continue benefiting from the military alliance.
Politico reported Saturday that five judges on the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week publicly recorded their disagreement with last month's ruling made by three of their colleagues.
Days later, on Friday, another filing from the court's conservative justices argued that most people affected by the original travel ban are not entitled to Constitutional protections, because they have not yet entered the U.S.
Germany’s reaction to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s White House visit? “It could have been a lot worse." (The New York Times) A strong relationship with the United States is a bedrock of German foreign policy, so when Chancellor Angela Merkel met President Trump on Friday, German journalists and analysts scrutinized their body language and the tone of their remarks for clues about how they might work together. “Not warm, but not distant," wrote the left-leaning newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in its online edition on Saturday. “It could have been a lot worse," Germany’s mass-circulation daily, Bild, wrote of the relationship that is the cornerstone of the NATO alliance and vital to global security.
Port Teeming With Porsches Fears Trump’s German Trade Stance (Bloomberg) When Michael von Harten started loading cars onto ships in the German port of Bremerhaven 27 years ago, the facility handled some 700,000 vehicles a year. That number has since surged to 2.1 million, fueled by a dramatic increase in trade that has created thousands of jobs and shored up the local economy. In a town with few options, Von Harten is concerned Donald Trump could threaten Bremerhaven’s main source of prosperity. The new U.S. president has called on Germany to rein in its 253 billion euro ($272 billion) trade surplus, saying he may impose stiff tariffs on imported goods.
North Korea Tests New High-Thrust Rocket Engine (Bloomberg) North Korea has conducted a ground test of a new type of high-thrust rocket engine that leader Kim Jong Un is calling a revolutionary breakthrough for the country's space program. Kim attended the test at the Sohae launch site, according to a report Sunday by the Korean Central News Agency, which said the test was intended to confirm the "new type" engine's thrust power and gauge the reliability of its control system and structural safety.
Tillerson ends China trip with warm words from President Xi (Reuters) With warm words from Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended his first trip to Asia since taking office with an agreement to work together with China on North Korea and putting aside trickier issues. China has been irritated at being repeatedly told by Washington to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and the U.S. decision to base an advanced missile defense system in South Korea. Beijing is also deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions toward self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, with the Trump administration crafting a big new arms package for the island that is bound to anger China. See also U.S., China soften tone, say to work together on North Korea.
China Home-Price Rises Regain Speed, Defying Purchase Curbs (Bloomberg) China home prices rose last month in more cities despite increased restrictions on property transactions by local authorities. New home prices, excluding subsidized housing, gained in February in 56 out of 70 cities tracked by the government, compared with 45 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday. Prices climbed in 67 out of 70 cities from a year earlier, compared with 66 in January.
To cool the market, Beijing city on Friday raised down-payment requirements for second homes 10 percentage points to between 60 percent and 80 percent. The rule also applied to buyers who don’t currently own a home but previously had a mortgage with the same down-payment threshold, making it harder for someone to sell their house to upgrade to a bigger or more expensive property.
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