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Saturday, July 11, 2020

White House News

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Colombia Seizes $265 Mln Worth of Cocaine at Port of Buenaventura

Colombian police on Tuesday seized cocaine with an estimated value of $265 million in shipping containers at the Pacific port of Buenaventura, a city on the Andean country's Pacific coast, a senior official reported.Some 4.9 tonnes of the drug were seized in two containers at Colombia's most important Pacific port, anti-narcotics police director General Jorge Luis Ramirez said.While there were no arrests, the operation represents the largest cocaine seizure in Colombia this year.Authorities did not disclose the owner of the seized cocaine.Colombia is a leading producer of cocaine…

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OPEC+ Outlines Record Oil Production Cut; Mexico Balks

OPEC, Russia and other allies outlined plans on Thursday to cut their oil output by more than a fifth and said they expected the United States and other producers to join in their effort to prop up prices hammered by the coronavirus crisis.But the group, known as OPEC+, said a final agreement was dependent on Mexico signing up to the pact after it balked at the production cuts it was asked to make. Discussions among top global energy ministers will resume on Friday.The planned output curbs by OPEC+ amount to 10 million barrels per day (bpd) or 10% of global supplies…

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Saudi, Russia Closing in on Record Oil Cut Deal

OPEC and it allies held talks on Thursday on record oil output curbs of about 15 million barrels per day (bpd) or more, roughly 15% of global supplies, to support prices hammered by the coronavirus crisis, sources involved in the discussions said.They said the plan included cuts of about 5 million bpd from producers outside the group known as OPEC+ and could be made gradually, as the group seeks to overcome resistance from the United States whose involvement they see as vital to a deal.Talks have been complicated by friction between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC Russia…

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Fed Funds Could Aid Battered Cruise Lines

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday officials will have a better idea this week of the total cost of a coronavirus aid package, but predicted it will likely be "significant but not huge."Mnuchin told "Fox News Sunday" he also planned to talk to lawmakers about critical aid to airlines, as well as the hotel and cruise ship industries."It's hard to model some of these things because you don't know how many workers are going to be home. I want to be careful about throwing out numbers," he said.

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Trump: No Promises Regarding Steel, Aluminum Tariffs on Brazil

President Donald Trump praised the United States' relationship with Brazil under Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Saturday, but declined to say whether he would impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the South American country.Ahead of a dinner between the two men at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump was asked if he would continue to hold off placing new tariffs on Brazilian steel and aluminum. Trump responded that the United States had helped Brazil, but said he…

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US Considers Discouraging Cruise Travel

The United States is considering ways to discourage U.S. travelers from taking cruises as part of a broader Trump administration effort to limit the spread of coronavirus, according to four officials familiar with the situation.The officials, who asked to remain anonymous, said no decision had been made. The discussions were taking place ahead of a meeting this weekend between Vice President Mike Pence, who is in charge of leading the U.S. response to the coronavirus, and the cruise industry.The administration could advise some or all U.S.

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China to Grant Tariff Exemptions on 696 US Goods

China will grant exemptions on retaliatory duties imposed against 696 U.S. goods, the most substantial tariff relief to be offered so far, as Beijing seeks to fulfill commitments made in its interim trade deal with the United States.Tuesday's announcement comes after the Phase 1 trade deal between the two countries took effect on Feb. 14 and is the third round of tariff exemptions China has offered on U.S. goods.China has committed to boosting its purchases of goods and services from the United States by $200 billion over two years as part of the agreement…

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US Trade Deficit Narrows for First Time in Six Years

The U.S. trade deficit fell for the first time in six years in 2019 as the White House’s trade war with China curbed the import bill, keeping the economy on a moderate growth path despite a slowdown in consumer spending and weak business investment.The report from the Commerce Department on Wednesday also showed the Trump administration’s “America First” agenda decreased the flow of goods last year, with exports posting their first decline since 2016. President Donald Trump, who has dubbed himself “the tariff man…

Source: BIMCO, Clarksons, IMF

BIMCO: Supply & Demand Trending Off-Balance

One of the most worrying trends that has developed recently - which will affect shipping demand in the years to come - is the falling trade-to-GDP ratio. The falling ratio can be explained by slowing globaliztation as well as increasing protectionist measures being implemented around the world, spear headed by the US. The raised barriers to trade are here to stay as we enter a new decade, with the shipping industry stuck with the consequences.The trade war is the clearest example of these extra barriers to trade…

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U.S., China Reach Trade Deal 'in principle'

The White House has reached a "deal in principle" with Beijing to resolve the 17-month U.S.-China trade war, according to a source briefed on the trade talks.The White House was expected to make an announcement later on Thursday, the source said."The written agreement is still being formulated, but they have reached an agreement in principle," the source said. No details were immediately available.In an attempt to secure a "phase one" trade deal, U.S. negotiators offered to cut…

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Pelosi to Speak as U.S. Closes in on USMCA Deal

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold a news conference on Tuesday to discuss the U.S. Mexico Canada (USMCA) trade deal as U.S. and Canadian officials prepared to fly to Mexico City to work on final changes to the agreement."We're close. We're not quite finished yet, we're within range," Pelosi told a forum of chief executives on Monday evening.Her office did not elaborate on any announcement but she will be accompanied at the news conference by Representative Richard Neal…

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China Hoping for Expedited US Trade Agreement

China said on Monday that it hoped to make a trade deal with the United States as soon as possible, amid intense discussions before fresh U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports are due to kick in at the end of the week.Beijing hopes it can reach a trade agreement with the United States that satisfies both sides, Assistant Commerce Minister Ren Hongbin told reporters on Monday."On the question of China-U.S. trade talks and negotiations, we wish that both sides can, on the foundation of equality and mutual respect…

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White House: Tariff May be Removed if Trade Deal Reached

Tariffs could be lifted amid the U.S.-China trade deal if an agreement is reached, a White House spokeswoman said on Friday, citing optimism about a final pact but giving no further details."We're very optimistic for some kind of a deal, and I imagine if we reach one then some tariffs could be lifted," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told Fox Business News in an interview, adding that she did not want to get ahead of negotiations.Reporting by Susan Heavey

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White House Points to November for U.S-China Deal

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Friday pointed to next month's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Chile as the Trump administration seeks to formalize its "phase one" trade pact with China."We're on the glide path to Chile and the meeting of the two presidents mid-November. And the plan there is to have an agreement, so we'll see what happens," Navarro said in an interview on Fox Business Network, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Reporting by Susan Heavey and Jan Wolfe

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Kudlow: Trump "open-minded" about U.S.-China Deal Prospects

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday that the U.S. team was "open-minded" about the outcome of U.S.-China trade talks next week, which will include deputy-level meetings on Monday and Tuesday, with minister-level meetings Thursday and Friday.Kudlow declined to make any predictions about the talks but said that there had been a "softening of the psychology on both sides" in the past month, with the United States delaying some tariff increases and China making some modest purchases of American farm products.Reporting by David Lawder

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China Unveils Retaliatory Tariffs as Dispute Escalates

China unveiled on Friday retaliatory tariffs against about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods, putting an additional 10% on top of existing rates in the latest tit-for-tat exchange in a protracted dispute between the world's top two economies.The latest salvo from China comes after the United States unveiled tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, including consumer electronics, scheduled to go into effect in two stages on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15.China's commerce ministry said in a statement it would impose additional tariffs of 5% or 10% on a total of 5…

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Mnuchin: US, Chinese Call Could Produce 'in-person' Talks

U.S. and Chinese officials will hold a telephone call later on Thursday that could pave the way for further in-person trade talks, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC.Mnuchin, speaking from the G7 meeting in Chantilly, France, said he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will participate in the call with their Chinese counterparts, adding that it follows an earlier discussion with their staffs."We'll see where we get," he said in an interview. "We continue to make progress.

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US, Chinese Officials to Resume Trade Talks

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday told reporters he expects to have another telephone call with Chinese officials this week as part of resumed discussions about a trade agreement.U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping last month agreed to another truce in the year-long trade spat between the world's two largest economies.Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer followed up with a phone call with Chinese trade officials last week, but no details have been released about an expected in-person meeting.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation, The Honorable Elaine L. Chao (Photo: USDOT)

Chao to Receive AOTOS Award

The United Seamen’s Service  announced that U.S. Secretary of Transportation, The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, will receive the 2019 Admiral of the Ocean Sea Award based on her career-long commitment to the maritime industry. The other, previously announced recipients are James Given, President of the Seafarers International Union of Canada; Anil Mathur, President and CEO of Alaska Tanker Corp.; and Joseph Pyne, Chairman of the Board of the Kirby Corporation.The award will be presented at the 50th annual AOTOS gala at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel, New York City, on November 1, 2019.

The Bayonne Bridge (The growth in part can be attributed to the completion in June 2017 of the Bayonne Bridge Navigational Clearance Project, which raised the clearance under the bridge from 151 feet to 215 feet, allowing the world’s largest container ships to pass under it and serve port terminals in New York and New Jersey.) Credit: Port NY/NJ

CONTAINER PORTS: Boxed in or Busting Out?

Benchmarking the Nation’s top container ports in 2018 and looking ahead to what comes next.The nation’s major ports finished 2018 and began 2019 setting monthly and yearly container volume records, but agitated trade activity in the White House raised questions about what corrections would be permanent and which would not.President Donald Trump said on Febuary 24 he is delaying the scheduled March 1 increase in the tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports. The president said on Twitter he wants to give negotiators more time to reach a comprehensive trade deal with Beijing.

U.S. Deploys Troops to Middle East, Blames Iran for Tanker Attacks

The United States on Friday announced the deployment of 1,500 troops to the Middle East, describing it as an effort to bolster defenses against Iran as it accused the country's Revolutionary Guards of direct responsibility for this month's tanker attacks.President Donald Trump's administration also invoked the threat from Iran to declare a national security-related emergency that would clear the sale of billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates…

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Trump: US-China Trade Talks Haven't Collapsed

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said trade talks with China had not collapsed, characterizing the trade war between the world's two largest economies as "a little squabble."He made the remarks to reporters at the White House as Beijing and Washington ratchet up tensions with tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars of imports.Trump indicated negotiators from the two countries were still talking, saying they were having a good dialogue.

A Hong Kong intermodal facility. CREDIT: AdobeStock / © Marco 2811

Trump 'firm' on China Demands, Tariffs part of Enforcement

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday that President Donald Trump would "stand firm" on his demands for structural changes to China's trade practices, and removal of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods would be a part of a mechanism to enforce any deal with Beijing.Pence told CNBC television in an interview aired on Friday that Trump "remains very hopeful" about reaching a trade deal with China in talks next week in Washington.Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington…

U.S. Dredgers Applaud President for Jones Act Support

Wednesday, 1 May: Late this afternoon, President Donald Trump met with Congressional leaders from the Senate and House to discuss U.S. Maritime Policy. On the table was the Jones Act. President Trump assured the Congressional leaders that he is not seeking any changes to the Jones Act, nor is he seeking any waivers.“President Trump had the Jones Act matters all under control from the get-go”, said William P. Doyle, CEO & Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America. “Mr. Trump is all about jobs and national security — he’s never wavered on this.

Senator Cassidy: No Jones Act Waiver

A Republican U.S. senator on Wednesday said President Donald Trump will not waive rules requiring that only U.S.-flagged ships move natural gas from American ports to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Northeast.The nearly 100-year-old Jones Act mandates the use of U.S.-flagged vessels to transport merchandise between U.S. coasts. Republican senators said the administration was seriously considering waiving the requirements for 10 years. Bloomberg News reported last week that Trump was leaning in favor of some kind of waiver.Senator Bill Cassidy…

The El Coqui, a U.S. flag ConRo carrier, recently built specifically for the Jones Act Caribbean trades and powered by environmentally friendly LNG. CREDIT: Crowley Maritime

Trump to Meet with GOP Senators on Jones Act

President Donald Trump is set to meet with Republican senators on Wednesday over a proposal to waive rules that only U.S.-flagged ships can move natural gas from American ports to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Northeast.The nearly 100-year-old Jones Act mandates the use of U.S.-flagged vessels to transport merchandise between U.S. coasts. Bloomberg News reported last week the administration was seriously considering waiving the requirements for some energy shipments and that Trump…