Beginning To Level The Playing Field In Trade

CNBC reported yesterday that China will lower tariffs on products ranging from frozen pork and avocado to some types of semiconductors next year.  The Chinese economy is slowing down, and lowering tariffs is seen as a way to bring back previous growth.

The article also notes:

 

  • Next year, China will implement temporary import tariffs, which are lower than the most-favored-nation tariffs, on more than 850 products, the finance ministry said on Monday.
  • That compared with 706 products that were taxed at temporary rates in 2019.

The article cites a few significant tariff cuts:

The finance ministry said the tariff rate for frozen pork will be cut to 8% from the most-favored-nation duty of 12%, as China copes to plug a huge supply gap after a severe pig disease decimated its hog herd.

…China will also lower temporary import tariffs for ferroniobium — used as an additive to high strength low alloy steel and stainless steel for oil and gas pipelines, cars and trucks — from 1% to zero in 2020 to support its high-tech development.

…The tariff rate for frozen avocado was cut to 7% from the most-favored-nation duty of 30%, the ministry said.

…Tariffs for some asthma and diabetes medications will be set at zero, the ministry said, while duties on some wood and paper products will be lowered too.

Import tariffs on multi-component semiconductors will be cut to zero.

China will also further lower most-favored-nation import tariffs on some information technology products from July 1, the ministry said.

China has long been an unfair trading partner–manipulating their currency, disregarding intellectual property, and generally behaving badly. Hopefully President Trump’s ‘trade war’ will bring some balance into our trade relationship with China.

 

A New Role For America

Yahoo Finance is reporting today that America has posted its first full month as a net exporter of crude and petroleum products since government records began in 1949.

The article reports:

The nation exported 89,000 barrels a day more than it imported in September, according to data from the Energy Information Administration Friday. While the U.S. has previously reported net exports on a weekly basis, today’s figures mark a key milestone that few would have predicted just a decade ago, before the onset of the shale boom.

President Donald Trump has touted American energy independence, saying that the nation is moving away from relying on foreign oil. While the net exports show decreasing reliance on imports, the U.S. still continues to buy heavy crude oil from other nations to meet the needs of its refineries. It also buys refined products when they are available for a lower cost from foreign suppliers.

“The U.S. return to being a net exporter serves to remind how the oil industry can deliver surprises — in this case, the shale oil revolution – that upend global oil prices, production, and trade flows,” said Bob McNally, a former energy adviser to President George W. Bush and president of the consulting firm Rapidan Energy Group.

Soaring output from shale deposits led by the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico has been in main driver of the transition — but America’s status as a net exporter may be fragile. Many Texas wildcatters are predicting a rapid decline in production growth next year, while some Democratic contenders for the White House have called for a ban on fracking — the controversial drilling technique that unleashed the boom.

The article concludes:

Analysts at Rystad Energy said this week the U.S. is only months away from achieving energy independence, citing surging oil and gas output as well as the growth of renewables.

“Going forward, the United States will be energy independent on a monthly basis, and by 2030 total primary energy production will outpace primary energy demand by about 30%,” said Sindre Knutsson, vice president of Rystad Energy’s gas markets team.

So what does energy independence mean? It means that our foreign policy is no longer determined by our energy needs, but by forming alliances with countries with similar goals. It means that a change in the world production of oil will not result in the gas lines we saw in America in the 1970’s. It means that if Russia plays politics with the energy it supplies to Europe, we have the ability to step in and fill the need–ending the constant threat that Russia will cut off Europe’s fuel supply in the dead of winter. It means that in case of war, our ships and airplanes will have the fuel they need to fight.

Energy independence is a big deal. It is a goal that was seemingly unachievable until President Trump made it a priority. Thank you, Mr. President.

Are Oil Companies Really The Greedy Ones ?

Below is a chart from the American Petroleum Institute showing gasoline taxes acoss the country.

Oil companies produce a product. They employ people in the production of that product. What oil product does the government produce? It would be interesting to compare what the oil companies make on a gallon of gasoline versus what the government makes on a gallon of gas.

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