Keeping it Real…

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China’s TOTAL DICTATORSHIP Move Exposes Canada’s Hypocrisy

March 12th, 2018 · 42 Comments

So much for “quiet” diplomacy; so much for behind-the-scenes “progress; so much for any pretense that Canada’s dealings with China is NOT endorsing, supporting and encouraging the trampling of even basic political and human rights.

President Xi Jinping this past weekend destroyed any charade that China is moving … even at a turtle’s pace  … to a more open, more responsive, more humane society.

In a scene that reminded me of those massive applause-filled phony endorsements of Joseph Stalin or Saddam Hussein  (first one to stop clapping was the first one to be arrested/shot), China’s National People’s Congress voted to remove the two-term limit in  the country’s Constitution.  Xi, 64, who was previously required to step down in 2023, can now rule for life.

“This marks the biggest regression in China’s legal system since the reform and opening-up era of the 1980s,” said Zhang Lifan, an independent Beijing-based political commentator in an interview with The Washington Post.

But Xi has been at it for years now … concentrating power in himself, ignoring even the guise of collective leadership”.

“Xi has appointed himself to head bodies that oversee national security, finance, economic reform and other major initiatives, effectively sidelining the Communist Party’s No. 2 figure, Premier Li Keqiang,” the Post reported.

In fact, Xi spent his first term “purging the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of any faction that challenged his omnipotence, while dialing up censorship, amassing more than a dozen separate leadership roles and assembling a budding cult of personality“, according to Time Magazine’s Beijing reporter.

The evidence of China’s RETROGRESSION on the human rights and democracy fronts has been front and center for five years now  …with any hint of dissension quashed, anyone who dares to express rights guaranteed in the Chinese Constitution harassed, arrested and imprisoned, with democracy advocates beaten, imprisoned, churches destroyed, defiant pastors sent to jail for years …. all amidst such widespread news, information and Internet censorship that China’s population is not only oppressed but literally repressed as well.

And all the while, Canadian federal and provincial officials, along with our business leaders have been eagerly extending, expanding and encouraging closer financial and business ties with China.

I get it.

Our moral compass has been buried; our ethical posturing has become a sham; and our principles have given way totally to principals.

It’s ALL about money … spending, investment, and foreign sales …. and it’s about time Canada started admitting THAT’S what we hold dearest: all the talk about tying “progress” in human rights etc to increasing economic ties was/is a sham.

It’s worse NOW for human dignity and political and even artistic freedoms in China than even during the regime of Mao Tse Tung.

Think about that the next time you see our business and political “leaders” smiling and shaking hands with Chinese state officials and companies.

Canada …. and we … should be ashamed.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 42 CommentsTags: International · National

Bully’s Backdown Can Actually BOOST Canada’s Steel Exports to US!!

March 9th, 2018 · 30 Comments

US President Donald trump must have read this blog!  Okay,  maybe also heard from a few others …in government, in business, in trade relations  … who let him know what a disaster it would be to include Canada in any steel tariffs.

Because RETALIATION would have had to follow!

There was NO WAY Prime Minister Justin Trudeau … still reeling politically and in popularity from his immaturity and silliness in India … could let Trump impose a 25% tariff on Canadian steel … and do NOTHING.

So retaliation would HAVE TO have come … probably hitting US products on the list I included in my previous blog: US-built aircraft (take that, Boeing, Cessna, Gulfstream); American motorcycles; American clothing (like Levis, shoes, boots, sports, fishing, boating and mountaineering gear): American recreational vehicles and other American-built equipment; American plastics, American computers, American agricultural goods that are also abundantly produced in Canada (apples, potatoes, chocolates, candies, canned goods: American wines.”

So the bully backed off! And picked on another potential victim that will huff and puff, but likely NOT retaliate in any major way: China.

China’s trade surplus with the US was a whopping $347 BILLION in 2016. It exported  (some say dumped) 2% of its steel production to America … worth a billion dollars in value: however, in the context of its overall trade surplus, not a huge enough amount to trigger a full trade war with Trump.

The European Union, though, will be hurt by the American tariff.  EU steel accounts for almost 21% of American steel imports … huge in comparison with China … and will suffer from Trump’s tariff attack.  So the EU WILL retaliate , hitting American products … but anyone who has watched Trump knows he’s not a great fan of most European countries/leaders and probably wouldn’t worry about getting into a spitting match with them..

Meanwhile …. without realizing it… Trump’s new tariffs on China’s and the EU’s steel will actually make CANADIAN steel more competitive and more attractive to US importers … who now know the quality,  relative proximity and continuing ease of access our steel enjoys in their markets will continue.

American steel production will increase, but the country …especially with its currently growing and expanding economy …will see continued growth in demand for steel … an essential component in virtually all construction but also in almost every product and machinery manufacturing venture.

So China’s and the EU’s LOSS of US market could be Canada’s GAIN!

And all the while, American exporting companies will pay the price from retaliation that is bound to come … especially from Europe … against US products.

There are already calculations that suggest the impact of Trump’s tariffs on higher production costs and foreign retaliation could result in a net LOSS of 146,000 US jobs within a year.

While Canadian steel exports to the US … already almost 18% of the US market, will stay strong … and, with other foreign competition handicapped …could even grow.

And also not to be missed: on the same day Trump caved in on Canada, we were also one of 11 countries that officially signed the Trans Pacific Partnership  … that will give Canadian businesses and exporters an extra “in” with countries overseas, now fuming at the increasingly isolationist US/Trump.

All in all … a VERY good week for Canada.

But Shhh!   Don’t tell the bully …. or his base.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 30 CommentsTags: International · National