WASHINGTON, Aug 20, 2018 (News Wires) - A broad cross-section of US businesses has a message for the Trump administration: new tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports will force Americans to pay more for items they use throughout their daily lives, from cradles to coffins.
Six days of public hearings on the proposed duties of up to 25 per cent will start on Monday in Washington as part of President Donald Trump’s and the US Trade Representative’s efforts to pressure Beijing for sweeping changes to its trade and economic policies.
Unlike previous rounds of US tariffs, which sought to shield consumers by targeting Chinese industrial machinery, electronic components and other intermediate goods, thousands of consumer products could be directly hit with tariffs by late September.
The $200 billion list targets Chinese seafood, furniture and lighting products, tires, chemicals, plastics, bicycles and car seats for babies.
“USTR’s proposed tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports dramatically expands the harm to American consumers, workers, businesses, and the economy,” the US Chamber of Commerce said in written testimony for the hearing.
The top US business lobbying group said the Trump administration lacks a “coherent strategy” to address China’s theft of intellectual property and other harmful trade practices and called for “serious discussions” with Beijing.
Mid-level Trump administration officials and their Chinese counterparts are expected to meet later this week in Washington to discuss their trade dispute. But it is unclear whether the talks will have any effect on the implementation of US tariffs and retaliation by China.
In more than 1,400 written comments submitted to USTR that will be echoed in the hearings, most businesses argued that the tariffs will cause harm and higher costs for products ranging from Halloween costumes and Christmas lights to nuclear fuel inputs, while a small number praised them or asked that they be extended to other products.
KABUL, Aug 20, 2018 (MENA) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on the Taliban group to participate in the ceasefire initiative announced by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, Khaama Press News Agency reported.
“The United States welcomes the announcement by the Afghan government of a ceasefire conditioned on Taliban participation. This plan responds to the clear and continued call of the Afghan people for peace,” Pompeo was quoted in a statement released by the US Embassy in Kabul.
He said “The last ceasefire in Afghanistan revealed the deep desire of the Afghan people to end the conflict, and we hope another ceasefire will move the country closer to sustainable security. The United States and our international partners support this initiative by the Afghan people and the Afghan government, and we call on the Taliban to participate. It is our hope, and that of the international community, that the Afghan people may celebrate Eid Al-Adha this year in peace, free from fear.”
“The United States supports President Ghani’s offer for comprehensive negotiations on a mutually agreed agenda. We remain ready to support, facilitate, and participate in direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. There are no obstacles to talks. It is time for peace,” Pompeo added.
ANKARA, August 20, 2018 (News Wires) - Several gunshots were fired early this morning from a vehicle at the US Embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara, causing no casualties, police and the embassy spokesperson said.
The attack coincided with a deepening row between Ankara and Washington over the trial of a US pastor in Turkey.
A police officer told Reuters at the scene the drive-by shooting occurred around 5am (02:00 GMT) and that nobody was hurt. The embassy is closed this week for a public holiday to mark the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival.
“We can confirm a security incident took place at the US Embassy early this morning. We have no reports of any injuries and we are investigating the details,” said David Gainer, the embassy spokesperson.
“We thank the Turkish National Police for their rapid response.”
Police teams were searching for the assailants, who fled in a white car after the attack, CNN Turk said. Four or five gunshots were heard, it said, one hitting a window in a security cabin but causing no casualties.
Video footage from broadcaster Haberturk showed police teams inspecting one of the entrances to the embassy and apparent damage caused by a gunshot could be seen in one window. It said empty cartridges were found at the scene.
The US Embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul have been the targets of attacks by militants and have faced numerous security threats in the past.
TEHRAN, August 20, 2018 (News Wires) - Iran said on Monday that Europe should accelerate its efforts to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers that US President Donald Trump abandoned in May.
“Europeans and other signatories of the deal (China and Russia) have been trying to save the deal... but the process has been slow. It should be accelerated,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told a news conference broadcast on state TV. “Iran relies mainly on its own capabilities to overcome America’s new sanctions.”
European states have been scrambling to ensure Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal since the United States withdrew from the deal, which Trump said was “deeply flawed”.
Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran in August, targeting its trade in gold and other precious metals, purchases of US dollars and its car industry.
The European Union has taken steps to counter the renewed US sanctions, including forbidding EU citizens from complying with them or related court rulings, and allowing firms to take legal action to recover potential damages from parties who withdraw from contracts due to the sanctions.
European powers, China and Russia say they will do more to encourage their businesses to remain engaged with Iran. But the prospect of US penalties appears to be enough to persuade European companies to keep out of Iran.
ABU DHABI, August 19, 2018 (News Wires) - US forces will stay in Iraq "as long as needed" to help stabilise regions previously controlled by Islamic State, a spokesman for the US-led international coalition fighting the militants said on Sunday.
"We'll keep troops there as long as we think they're needed ... The main reason, after IS(Islamic State) is defeated militarily is the stabilisation efforts and we still need to be there for that, so that's one of the reasons we'll maintain a presence," Colonel Sean Ryan told a news conference in Abu Dhabi.
LONDON, August 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Iran said on Saturday it would resist the pressures of US sanctions by relying on its natural and human resources, as Washington pushes allies to cut economic ties with Tehran.
"It is a critical moment for our economy, but we are not in a dead end," Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.
"This country has plenty of human and natural resources that can rely on."
"The size of our oil and gas resources is number one in the world. In minerals and metals we are among the top 10 countries," Jahangiri said.
Washington has withdrawn from a deal that had lifted sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
Sanctions imposed in August target Iran´s trade in gold and other precious metals, its purchases of US dollars and its car industry.
US President Donald Trump has said a new round of sanctions will be imposed in November, targeting Iranian oil sales.
Iran´s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week rejected Trump´s offer of talks.
Iran's rial currency has lost about half of its value since April, driven mainly by heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.