Friday, December 18, 2009

US sends out Chinese gifts to Filipino journalists

A newspaper employee shows off Friday, December 18, 2009 a Chinese-made umbrella sent by the United States Embassy in Manila. The trade dispute between Washington and Beijing had a record $268 billion surplus last year in China’s favor. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / December 18, 2009) – Despite a trade dispute between the United States and China, the US Embassy in Manila gifted Friday selected Filipino journalists a beautiful umbrella made in China.

The embassy’s Public Affairs Section sent out the huge blue umbrella emblazoned with the seal of the United States. The umbrella was wrapped in a clear plastic with Chinese markings and manufactured by Ing Yi.

The trade dispute between the two countries had a record $268 billion surplus last year in China’s favor.

According to the Washington D.C.-based Council on Foreign Relations, a major factor in China's quick rise has been its vigorous trade activity with the United States.

Trade volume between the two nations reached $211.6 billion in 2005, more than eighty times the $2.4 billion exchanged in 1979, the year they established normal trade relations. This has accelerated in recent years; from 2001 to 2005, the volume of U.S.-Chinese trade increased an average of 27.4 percent a year. The United States has become the top destination of Chinese merchandise exports and China is buying up more and more U.S. goods, with U.S. exports to China rising 21.5 percent each of the last four years.

In 2005 the United States ran a bilateral trade deficit with China of $202 billion, up from $162 billion the previous year.

The New York Times reported in September that both Washington and Beijing face domestic pressure to take a tougher stand against the other on economic issues. But the trade frictions are increasing political tensions between the two nations even as they try to work together to revive the global economy and combat mutual security threats, like the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.

President Barack Obama also in September announced that the United States would levy tariffs of up to 35 percent on tires from China.

Obama’s decision to impose tariffs on Chinese tires is a signal that he plans to deliver on his promise to labor unions that he would more strictly enforce trade laws, especially against China, which has become the world’s factory while the United States has lost millions of manufacturing jobs.

China’s commerce ministry issued a formulaic criticism of the American action, but after a frenzy of anti-American rhetoric on Chinese Web sites, the ministry announced that it would take the first steps toward imposing tariffs on American exports of automotive products and chicken meat.

The ministry said it was demanding talks with the United States on the tire tariffs. Carol J. Guthrie, a spokeswoman for the office of the United States trade representative, said the United States wanted to avoid disputes with China and continue talks, but would look at any Chinese trade decisions for whether they comply with World Trade Organization rules.

The New York Times reported that China exported $1.3 billion in tires to the United States in the first seven months of 2009, while the United States shipped about $800 million in automotive products and $376 million in chicken meat to China, according to data from Global Trade Information Services in Columbia, South Carolina. (Mindanao Examiner)

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