Commerce Department Hits Chinese Solar Panels With Token Tariff

By: Wednesday March 21, 2012 10:21 am

If you ask people who actually know about Solyndra, they will tell you that the solar manufacturer went out of business due to cheap imports of the same technology from China. This drove down profit margins in the industry, and Solyndra couldn’t compete. Overall, the macro implication of this means cheaper solar panels for the [...]

US Announces Additional Trade Enforcement Actions Against China

By: Tuesday March 13, 2012 7:44 am

The President announced in his State of the Union address a Trade Enforcement Unit that would broadly look at unfair trade practices around the world, particularly with China, and use the international mechanisms available to stop them. The first post-SOTU case of the new trade enforcement policy concerns rare earth minerals: Five separate issues — [...]

Other Bits and Pieces on the State of the Union

By: Wednesday January 25, 2012 1:16 pm

Let’s briefly go through a few of the other proposals in last night’s State of the Union Address, none of which will come to pass this year if they include an act of Congress, but which offer some insights regardless: • The broader mortgage refi plan: HARP 2 is already operative, and Fannie and Freddie [...]

Obama Announces Trade Enforcement Unit to Inquire on Illegal Chinese Trade Practices

By: Wednesday January 25, 2012 7:35 am

Outside of the horrendous gambit of announcing a fraud investigation that appears designed to fail, Obama gave a decent enough speech last night. I liked the specificity on the Buffett rule – a minimum effective tax rate of 30% for millionaires – and the alternative minimum tax for corporations (a nice counterpoint to the far-right [...]

German Unemployment Drops, as Euro Works for Them

By: Tuesday January 3, 2012 7:35 am

The Spanish economy fell into recession in the last half of 2011, and unemployment went up in December for the fifth straight month, no mean feat in a country which already has 20% unemployment, including almost one-half of all young people. Meanwhile, unemployment in Germany dipped down to 6.8%, a record low. The adjusted jobless [...]

New Manufacturing Jobs Feature Lower Wages

By: Friday December 30, 2011 7:07 am

Manufacturing has been a bright spot over the past year in terms of jobs gained. Activity has picked up, and factories are coming back on-line. The problem is that this has come at a cost. Specifically, the US manufacturing jobs of the future feature lower pay and benefits. That is particularly true of global manufacturers [...]

Treasury Department Declines to Label China a Currency Manipulator

By: Wednesday December 28, 2011 6:18 am

In 2010, over 350 members of the House agreed to a bill designed to punish China for their currency manipulation. In 2011, 68 members of the Senate agreed to a similar bill. But in a year-end report to Congress, the Treasury Department voiced their disagreement, refusing to label China a currency manipulator, instead opting for [...]

Report on China’s Economic Practices Ten Years After WTO Inclusion Shows Need for Changes

By: Tuesday December 13, 2011 12:55 pm

Ten years ago, China joined the World Trade Organization, promising to reform and liberalize its command economy. Ten years later, very little has changed. The U.S. says that China has intensified state intervention in its economy despite reform commitments it made on joining the World Trade Organization 10 years ago. The office of the U.S. [...]

Thai Flooding Leads to Reduction in Work at US Honda Plants

By: Monday October 31, 2011 12:55 pm

Remember, only trying to mitigate climate change costs jobs. Keep telling yourself that. Parts shortages from three months of catastrophic flooding in Thailand have forced Honda to cut U.S. and Canadian factory production by 50 percent for the second time this year, the automaker said Monday. The cuts, which come just as Honda was recovering [...]

Sherrod Brown Pressures Boehner in His Hometown on Chinese Currency Bill

By: Tuesday October 18, 2011 8:55 am

John Boehner has declared the China currency bill, which passed the Senate with rare bipartisan support and 63 votes, “dead on arrival” in the House. Apparently the interests of multinational corporations to keep their labor costs low trumps the interests of out-of-work Americans. This House Speaker knows where his bread is buttered. Just to bring [...]

Chinese Currency Bill Gets Vote in Senate Today

By: Monday October 3, 2011 5:47 am

Today, the Senate will vote on a motion to proceed on a bill addressing currency manipulators, targeted mainly at China. Reuters writes about it with the cynical headline “Senators court 2012 voters with China currency,” but yes, I think they’ve calculated that a bill that would save money, create millions of jobs over time, and [...]

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