The Trade War Is Already Having A Huge Impact On The U.S. Economy

The trade war has barely just begun, and yet significant ripple effects are already being felt all across the U.S. economy.  Once thriving businesses are on the verge of failure, workers are being laid off, and some sectors of the economy are witnessing enormous price hikes.  Right now the mainstream media is absolutely fixated on the drama surrounding the recently concluded Trump-Putin summit meeting, but the consequences of this trade war will ultimately be far more important for the lives of most ordinary Americans.  As more tariffs continue to be implemented, this will perhaps be the biggest disruption to the global economic system that we have seen in decades.  Perhaps you have not been affected personally yet, but for many Americans this trade war has changed everything.  For example, just consider the plight of soybean farmer Tim Bardole

The U.S. is China’s second-biggest source of soybeans at 34% of the imports, after Brazil, which ships 53%. The staple is used to make cooking oil and seasoning, and soybean meal is found in pig feed.

Now the tariffs have taken the bottom out of U.S. soybean prices, delivering a gut punch to farmers like Tim Bardole. He was already $100,000 in the red last year due to a yearslong slump in cereal prices, and the current predicament has driven him into a corner.

“I’m not sure if I can get a loan from the bank to finance our next year’s crop,” said Bardole.

If this trade war had not happened, perhaps Bardole would have been able to eventually get out of debt.  But now he is facing financial ruin and the potential loss of his entire farm.

Switching gears, U.S. consumers will soon discover that common electronics such as phones and computers cost a lot more.  The following comes from CBS News

Buyers in the U.S. will soon see price hikes on computers, phones, thermostats and “everyday items,” according to the Information Technology Industry Council, a group that represents tech companies.

Hundreds of Chinese components that the Trump administration penalized are used to make everything from LEDs to sensors to printer and scanner components. When manufacturers pay more for their parts, the costs are typically passed on to consumers, the ITI said.

Are you ready to pay 50 dollars for your next phone to support this trade war?

Maybe.

50 dollars is ultimately not that big of a deal.

But what about paying $9,000 more for your next house?

Tariffs on lumber coming from the evil Canadians are adding about $9,000 to the cost of a new house, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Washing machine prices have jumped some 15% this year, the fastest increase ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Are you starting to understand why starting trade wars with all of our major trading partners simultaneously was a really bad idea?

We are about to see major price hikes in just about every sector of the economy.  According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the average American could pay over $5,000 more for their next vehicle

Consumers may see an average price increase of $5,800 if a 25 percent import tariff that Mr. Trump has threatened goes into effect, according to estimates cited by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), a lobbying group for carmakers.

That’s a “$45 billion tax on consumers,” the group said, citing an analysis of Commerce Department data.

U.S. consumers are already stretched to the max, and they will not be able to easily absorb these price increases.

Meanwhile, farm incomes all across the interior of the country are going to be absolutely devastated by this trade war.  Just check out these numbers

The American Farm Bureau says it expects farm incomes to drop to a 12-year low this year, largely because of the trade war.

An agricultural economist at Purdue University, Christopher Hurt, added that 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans would have made a farmer a $42,000 profit on June 1. Now, it could net him a $126,000 loss.

And as I mentioned above, many businesses all over the United States that rely heavily on exports are already struggling so mightily that they have to lay off workers.  The following comes from USA Today

In Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Mid-Continent Nail, the nation’s largest nail maker, laid off 60 workers last month. Sales plunged 70 percent after Trump placed a 25 percent tariff on steel from Mexico and Canada. When the company boosted its prices, customers defected. Now, Mid-Continent is strongly considering a second round of 200 layoffs, company spokeswoman Elizabeth Heaton says, and all 500 employees could be axed by Labor Day.

Yes, we desperately needed to do something about China and other trade partners that were taking advantage of us.  But there is a right way to handle things and a wrong way to handle things, and starting a trade war with everyone at the same time is a really, really bad idea.

I think that a recent piece by Thomas Grennes, a professor of economics at North Carolina State University, made this point quite well

The Trump administration has said that tariffs are a negotiating technique that need not be implemented. Now that tariffs are in place, they say other countries will soon back down. However, trading partners have not backed down, and, in fact, retaliatory tariffs against U.S. exports are already in place. Foreign officials have expressed confusion about exactly what concessions the US government wants. Currently, no formal negotiations are taking place. Higher future tariffs are being announced regularly. There are no signs of an end to this tariff war. When will both sides recognize that interfering with voluntary trade is harmful to both parties? Trade wars are lose-lose propositions.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that most Americans have any idea how exceedingly painful this trade war could potentially become.

The longer it lasts, the worse things will get, and ultimately it could tip the U.S. economy into the worst recession that any of us have ever experienced.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

An Absolutely Epic Escalation Of The Trade War Has Us On The Precipice Of A Cataclysmic Global Economic Crisis

If Americans really understood how much their standard of living was about to change, the streets of our major cities would be packed with protesters by tomorrow morning.  For the past several decades, China and other low cost exporters have been flooding our shores with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of cheap goods.  This is the only reason why you can go to Wal-Mart and buy a shirt for three bucks.  But since we buy far more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us, we ultimately have to go back to those other nations and beg them to lend our money back to us so that we can pay our bills.  This sick, twisted co-dependent relationship has enabled Americans to live a debt-fueled standard of living that is far beyond what we deserve, and now our rapidly escalating trade war with China is going to bring the party to a crashing halt.  On Tuesday, the Trump administration released a list of $200,000,000,000 worth of Chinese exports that will be hit with 10 percent tariffs.  Those tariffs are in addition to the 25 percent tariffs that had previously been announced on 50 billion dollars worth of Chinese exports.  These new tariffs are scheduled to go into effect on August 30th, and the Chinese have already pledged to retaliate.

In essence, our trade war with China has now “gone nuclear”, and this is going to have extremely serious implications for the U.S. economy.  The following is a short excerpt from the statement that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer released about these new tariffs…

On Friday, in response to unfair Chinese practices, the United States began imposing tariffs of 25 percent on approximately $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. These tariffs will eventually cover up to $50 billion in Chinese imports as legal processes conclude. The products targeted by the tariffs are those that benefit from China’s industrial policy and forced technology transfer practices.

China has since retaliated against the United States by imposing tariffs on $34 billion in U.S. exports to China, and threatening tariffs on another $16 billion. It did this without any international legal basis or justification.

As a result of China’s retaliation and failure to change its practices, the President has ordered USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports. This is an appropriate response under the authority of Section 301 to obtain the elimination of China’s harmful industrial policies.

Without a doubt, something needed to be done about China’s unfair trade practices.  The Chinese manipulate currency rates, they impose very high tariffs on U.S. goods, and they have been stealing our intellectual property for decades.

But it is very unlikely that anyone is going to “win” this trade war, and in the short-term all it is going to mean is a whole lot of economic and financial pain.

According to Politico, the new tariff list that was just released hits a very broad range of products…

The new tariff list broadens the types of goods caught up in the trade war by targeting items like seafood, minerals, chemicals, and personal care items, such as shampoo and soap. It also includes a number of consumer products such as handbags, luggage, gloves and paper.

Do you buy any of those things?

Well, expect to pay significantly more in the not too distant future.

When compiling this new list, the Trump administration specifically “took into account what could cause disruptions to China’s economy”.  The following comes from CNBC

Some of the products on the list facing tariffs are from Made in China 2025 sectors, the official said. Made in China 2025 is a strategic plan to make China a leader in key global industries, including technology.

When compiling the list of goods, the U.S. Trade Representative took into account what could cause disruptions to China’s economy.

So what do you think that the Chinese are going to do in response?

Yes, they are going to look at measures that will “cause disruptions to America’s economy”.

The Chinese are a very proud people, and they aren’t stupid.  They know where our pain points are, and they will not be afraid to go for the jugular.

China cannot match this round of U.S. tariffs dollar for dollar, because China only imports approximately 130 billion dollars worth of U.S. goods a year.

But China could decide to cut off some or all agricultural imports from the United States, and that would be absolutely devastating to many farming states.  In fact, many farming states are already feeling substantial pain from the tariffs that China has already imposed…

“Agricultural states, I think, are being hit the hardest,” said Rodney Ludema, a Georgetown University professor and former senior international economist in the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama. The tariffs spare states “that are heavily service-dependent, like New York.”

In terms of value, some 38 percent of products on the tariff list are agricultural, including soybeans, sorghum, tobacco and meat, said Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. That’s bad news for farm-belt states, primarily in the Midwest.

In addition, China could decide to “go nuclear” by cutting off U.S. investment in China, by restricting our access to rare earth elements, or by dumping our debt.

The only reason why we have even been able to get to 21 trillion dollars in debt is because nations such as China have been buying our debt at ultra-low interest rates that are way below the real rate of inflation.

If China quit buying our debt and started dumping their current holdings, interest rates would start skyrocketing and we would be in a world of hurt almost immediately.

We don’t have the kind of leverage that some people seem to think that we have.  And there are many prominent experts that are warning that we are heading for catastrophic consequences.  For example, just consider what David Stockman recently told CNBC…

The United States is heading to a “massive trade war” because President Donald Trump “doesn’t know what he’s doing,” said former Reagan budget director David Stockman.

“We have an absurd policy — dangerous, stupid. The worst that I’ve seen since my whole career started in 1970 under [President Richard] Nixon, and he did some crazy things,” Stockman said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

The financial markets have reacted very strongly to these latest developments.  As soon as the new tariffs were announced, Asian stocks began to drop and Dow futures plummeted about 300 points from the closing highs.

Unfortunately, most ordinary Americans simply do not grasp the importance of what is happening, because we have never seen anything like this in modern American history.  The two largest economies on the entire planet are now in a state of economic conflict, and there is no way that this is going to end well.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Experts Warn Of Chaos For The U.S. Economy As China Declares That “The Biggest Trade War In Economic History” Has Begun

Nothing is going to be the same after this.  On Friday, the United States hit China with 34 billion dollars in tariffs, and China immediately responded with similar tariffs.  If it stopped there, this trade war between the United States and China would not be catastrophic for the global economy.  But it isn’t going to stop there.  Donald Trump is already talking about hitting China with an additional 500 billion dollars in tariffs, which would essentially cover pretty much everything that China exports to the U.S. in a typical year.  The Chinese have accused Trump of starting “the biggest trade war in economic history”, and they are pledging to fight for as long as it takes.  As I discussed yesterday, the only way that one side is going to “win” this trade war is if the other side completely backs down, and that simply is not going to happen.  So there is going to be economic pain, and that pain is likely to intensify for as long as this trade war persists.  U.S. businesses that will be affected by foreign tariffs are already cutting back production and laying off workers, and CNN is reporting that 1,300 products have suddenly become more expensive for U.S. consumers.  There will be nowhere that anyone can hide from this trade war, and it will ultimately affect every single man, woman and child in the entire country.

Most Americans are not paying any attention to these ongoing developments, but the Chinese sure are.

Earlier today, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce called the U.S. tariffs “typical trade bullying”, and it warned that this trade war could trigger “global market turmoil”

“This act is typical trade bullying,” the spokesperson said, before adding: “It seriously jeopardizes the global industrial chain … Hinders the pace of global economic recovery, triggers global market turmoil and will affect more innocent multinational companies, general companies and consumers.”

China’s primary English language newspaper was even more direct with their criticism

The government-run English language China Daily newspaper said: “The Trump administration is behaving like a gang of hoodlums with its shakedown of other countries, particularly China.”

Here in the United States, the start of a major trade war with China really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal if you listen to the mainstream media.  Most people just seem to think that things will continue to go well for our country no matter how many stupid decisions we make.  It is almost as if a lot of Americans no longer understand that extremely reckless acts can have exceedingly severe consequences.

One man that understands what is happening is the founder of the largest hedge fund on the entire planet.  On Friday, Ray Dalio posted the following ominous message on Twitter

“Today is the first day of the war with China.”

Please note that he did not say “the trade war with China”.

The truth is that trade wars can often lead to shooting wars, and we need to hope that cooler heads will prevail.

But for now, it looks like things will continue to escalate

But Trump has said his administration will respond to retaliation from Beijing with much bigger waves of tariffs, raising the prospect of worsening tit-for-tat reprisals. On Thursday, he suggested the possibility of tariffs on almost $500 billion more of Chinese goods.

He described the potential escalation to reporters aboard Air Force One: “Thirty-four, and then you have another 16 in two weeks and then, as you know, we have 200 billion in abeyance and then after the 200 billion we have 300 billion in abeyance. OK?” Trump said. “So we have 50 plus 200 plus almost 300.”

If we hit China with 500 billion dollars in tariffs, there is no telling what the Chinese might do.

As I discussed the other day, the Chinese could start dumping our debt or cut off our access to rare earth elements.

Either move would be absolutely catastrophic for the United States.

We don’t know how this trade war will ultimately end, but as Reuters has pointed out, “it’s going to get ugly”…

The U.S.-China trade war will be fought in the trenches, and it’s going to get ugly. The first round of tariffs hits on Friday, and U.S. President Donald Trump says they might come to cover more than $500 billion of goods. Exporters will feel the pain first, but uncertainty will also dampen investment, impede research and twist reform. It marks a moment of mourning for those who hoped the world’s two largest economies could work things out.

And guess what?

Russia just joined the trade war against the United States as well.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Whether this is a coordinated response is unclear – and certainly on a much smaller scale – but Bloomberg reports that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree this morning imposing higher tariffs on U.S. products in retaliation for U.S. duties on metals imports, according to Economy Ministry statement.

Reuters reports that Russia’s additional duties will apply to imports of fiber optics, equipment for road construction, oil and gas industry, metal processing and mining, according to an economy ministry statement.

These tariffs are going to have very real consequences for U.S. businesses and U.S. workers.

Even though this trade war just started, some firms are already being hit very hard.  Here is one example from USA Today

Trans-Matic, of Holland, Michigan, shapes metal, mostly into auto parts, as well as components for door locks. It has paid higher steel costs for several months as U.S. steelmakers raised prices in anticipation of higher American tariffs on metal imports, company Chief Financial Officer Steve Patterson says.

Trans-Matic has passed along the price hikes to its auto-supplier customers, but some have scaled back orders, reducing Trans-Matic’s revenue in that key sector by 5 to 10 percent, Patterson says. As a result, the company is giving its 300 U.S. employees about five hours a week in overtime instead of their usual 10.

For other firms, layoffs have already become a reality.  Just ask the largest nail maker in the United States

In Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Mid-Continent Nail, the nation’s largest nail maker, laid off 60 workers last month. Sales plunged 70 percent after Trump placed a 25 percent tariff on steel from Mexico and Canada. When the company boosted its prices, customers defected. Now, Mid-Continent is strongly considering a second round of 200 layoffs, company spokeswoman Elizabeth Heaton says, and all 500 employees could be axed by Labor Day.

The longer this trade war lasts, the worse things are going to get.

Fighting a trade war just with China would have been bad enough.  But instead, we have decided that we are going to take on pretty much the entire world simultaneously, and I don’t know if I have the words to describe how painful that is going to be for all of us.

Many Americans seem to believe that the U.S. economy is an unsinkable ship, and at this moment we are heading directly for an absolutely enormous iceberg.

Let us hope that someone is able to pull a rabbit out of a hat, because right now things are looking quite bleak.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The U.S. Trade War With China Officially Goes To The Next Level As Financial Markets Around The World Continue To Implode

Up until now, the U.S. trade war with China has simply been a bunch of threats and counter-threats, but now things are about to get very real.  On Friday, the first round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods becomes official, and these tariffs are going to fundamentally alter the economic relationship between the two largest economies on the entire planet.  Over the past several decades, U.S. consumers have loved gobbling up super-cheap goods from China, and the Chinese have used many of the dollars that they have been accumulating to fund our exploding national debt.  This symbiotic relationship has been bad for the United States in a lot of ways, and something had to be done, but in the short-term this trade war is going to be enormously painful.  Sadly, most Americans are completely oblivious to what is happening.  The following comes from Bloomberg

President Donald Trump is preparing to slap tariffs on Chinese goods early Friday, the first shot in a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

Tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods are scheduled to take effect at 12:01 a.m. in Washington, the U.S. Trade Representative confirmed in an email Thursday. The milestone marks a new and damaging phase in a conflict that has roiled markets and cast a shadow over the global growth outlook.

Another way should have been found to deal with our trade imbalances with China, because a trade war is not going to work.

Instead of giving in, the Chinese are promising to respond with measures of “equal scale, equal intensity”, and President Trump is already pledging to hit the Chinese with another 500 billion dollars in tariffs if the Chinese hit back in this manner…

Aboard Air Force One on his way to a rally in Montana, Trump told reporters he would also consider imposing additional tariffs on $500 billion in Chinese goods, should Beijing retaliate.

Once these escalations begin, where will they end?

The Chinese can really, really hurt us by dumping our debt and by cutting off our access to rare earth elements.

Would they really go that far?

And what would Trump do in response if the Chinese pull the trigger and decide to “go nuclear”?

It would be hard to overstate the pain that these tariffs will cause for U.S. businesses.  In fact, Bloomberg is reporting that some sectors are already being hit really hard in anticipation of what is going to happen…

The tariffs are already having an effect. As an example, Chinese companies are reselling U.S. soybeans, and Chinese companies are expected to cancel most of the remaining soybeans they have committed to buy from the U.S. in the year ending Aug. 31, once the extra tariffs take effect.

Of course the U.S. is not just fighting a trade war with China.  The United States has decided to wage trade wars with almost all of the major economic powers around the world simultaneously, and economic experts in France are warning that this could plunge the globe into a new economic crisis that “would likely be as devastating for the world economy as the 2008-2009 recession”

A full-scale trade war would likely be as devastating for the world economy as the 2008-2009 recession, warned France’s Council of Economic Advisors, a body which gives input to the country’s prime minister.

The United States and China could see a permanent loss of three percent of economic output and the European Union (EU) four percent in the case of a full-blown trade war, it estimated on Tuesday.

The wheels are in motion, and it is going to take a miracle to reverse course now.

In fact, it is being reported that “global trade is already collapsing”

While the US prepares to unleash its latest salvo in the trade war against China at midnight tonight, business surveys suggest that global trade is already collapsing

JPMorgan’s Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data suggest that trade growth has already slowed dramatically this year, as tensions over tariffs have escalated.

To get an idea of what they are talking about, just check out this chart.

And this comes at a time when financial markets around the planet are already imploding.  According to Egon von Greyerz, stock markets in China, Brazil and Turkey are already hovering around bear market territory…

But change starts in the periphery where very few are looking. Look at China where the Shanghai composite is down 23% since January. And look at Brazil where the Bovespa is off 17% so far this year and Turkey which has lost 20%.

What is important to understand is that most major markets are now looking extremely vulnerable, be it Japan, Germany or the US. Fundamentally most markets are overvalued with the help of central bank liquidity. Also, technically we are not far from crashes in most markets. Whilst there is always a possibility of a last hurrah, it looks like all markets have topped, including the US, and that later in 2018 we will see major falls. Once the bear markets start, they are likely to turn into secular trends that last many years and result in falls of 75% to 95%. Difficult to believe for most investors today, but nobody in 1929 believed that the Dow would fall 90% in the ensuing years and take 25 years to recover.

If our trade wars continue to escalate, and if the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, and if civil unrest continues to grow in major cities all across America, it is only a matter of time before U.S. markets implode as well.

During a recent interview, Michael Pento was asked when things might really start falling apart, and he pointed to the month of October

“Well, I have put a check on the calendar for October because of the fact the rate of quantitative tightening goes to $50 billion per year, because the trade war will reach a crescendo, then because I believe, unfortunately because I am conservative, the Republicans lose the House of Representatives, because the Chinese credit boom will be in full reverse by October.

It is a confluence of events coming in October… we’ve already entered into the beginnings of a bear market around the world. The top 22 banks in the world are in a bear market. There are many, many examples of banks around the world that are in a bear market. You have a bear market in Chinese shares. 20% of the S&P 500 is in a bear market. This is an incipient bear market that is already beginning. I believe it manifests clearly to even the people on CNBC by October.

In the end, the exact timing does not matter that much, because if we continue down the road that we are on right now it is only a matter of time before disaster strikes.

We simply cannot continue to enjoy a massively inflated debt-fueled standard of living if we decide to provoke all of the other nations that are funding our debt by starting trade wars with them.

What we are doing does not make any sense at all, and there will most certainly be severe consequences in the not too distant future.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Things Just Went Nuclear In Our Trade War With China, And A Giant Shockwave Is About To Hit The U.S. Economy

It is difficult to find the words to describe just how serious America’s trade war with China is becoming.  As you will see below, the two largest economies on the entire planet are on a self-destructive course that almost seems irreversible at this point.  The only way that this trade war is going to come to a rapid conclusion is if one side is willing to totally submit and accept an extremely bitter and humiliating defeat on the global stage, and that is not likely to happen.  So in the short-term, and probably beyond that, we are going to experience a tremendous amount of economic pain.  In fact, if one wanted to create a recipe for economic disaster, it would be hard to beat having the Federal Reserve dramatically raise interest rates at the exact same time that the U.S. government is starting trade wars with all of the other major economic powers simultaneously.  Unless something drastically changes in the very near future, there is no way that the U.S. is going to be able to get through this without experiencing severe pain.

Many had hoped that President Trump would settle down after the initial salvos in this new trade war, but instead on Sunday evening we learned that he has decided to go nuclear.  The following comes from CNBC

President Donald Trump plans to bar many Chinese companies from investing in U.S. tech and to block additional technology exports to China, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday evening, citing people familiar with the matter.

The two measures are set to be announced by the end of the week, and are intended to counter Beijing’s Made in China 2025 — a Chinese initiative to be a global leader in technology.

A report from Reuters included some additional very important details.  Apparently this new plan would ban any firm that has 25 percent Chinese ownership or greater from investing in any U.S. companies that have “industrially significant technology”…

The U.S. Treasury Department is drafting curbs that would block firms with at least 25 percent Chinese ownership from buying U.S. companies with “industrially significant technology,” a government official briefed on the matter said on Sunday.

So we are not just talking about “tech firms”.  The Trump administration is greatly concerned about Chinese theft of our technology, and without a doubt this has been rampant, and so the goal is to keep the Chinese from investing in any more of our companies that have important technology.

And theoretically that could include nearly all of them.

For years, the Chinese have been pouring massive amounts of money into the United States and have been investing very heavily in our industries.  Now that is going to come to an almost full stop, and the consequences are going to be enormous.

Yes, we certainly need to stand up to China, but it sure is going to be nearly impossible to try to replace all of that Chinese investment from other sources.

And of course this latest announcement comes less than two weeks before the U.S. and China are scheduled to begin imposing massive tariffs on one another.  The following comes from Bloomberg

On July 6, the U.S. is set to impose tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods. Tariffs on an additional $16 billion in Chinese products will go into effect after a public review period is completed. When Beijing vowed to retaliate on the same amount of U.S. goods and under the same timeline, Trump directed his U.S. Trade Representative to identify an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could be subject to a 10-percent tariff.

Donald Trump is playing hardball with China and is betting that they will fold.

I can already tell you that the Chinese will not fold.

So we are going to suffer some pretty severe consequences, and Finian Cunningham detailed some of these in a recent article.  First of all, Chinese tariffs on our agricultural products will likely hit our farmers really hard

If China goes ahead with threats to impose counter-tariffs on US agricultural products, such as soybeans, corn and meat, the impact on farm states like Iowa, Idaho and Illinois across the mid-west will be severe. Voters from these states were crucial to Trump getting elected to the White House in 2016. By taking the US into a trade war with China, Trump will end up hitting his own political base hardest.

Secondly, U.S. consumers will begin seeing significantly higher prices for consumer goods at our major retailers

Another repercussion is higher retail prices for consumer goods like televisions and footwear imported from China, if Trump slaps on punitive tariffs. That will inflate consumer prices and crimp household budgets, especially among the lower-income population, who again tended to vote for Trump. Net result is that the fragile American economy would likely tank from cash-strapped consumers, who are already living on the edge.

Thirdly, if the Chinese decide to start dumping U.S. Treasury bonds that could create a new crisis on Wall Street very rapidly

Yet, in this accounting, the real pain hasn’t even begun. China’s ultimate trade weapon is its massive holdings of US Treasury bonds. With nearly $1.2 trillion-worth in holdings of US federal debt, China is by far the world’s largest creditor for Washington. US-based news outlet Bloomberg calls it Beijing’s “nuclear option”.

Let me throw in another factor that I mentioned in a previous article.  China has a virtual monopoly on the production of rare earth elements, and if they totally cut us off they could almost instantly cripple a number of our high tech industries.  We have plenty of rare earths here in the United States, but we have not developed our mining or production capabilities to anywhere near a sufficient level for our needs.  This was a ghastly national security error, and in the short-term it could mean an absolutely immense amount of pain.

On top of everything else, China appears to be gearing up for a currency war.  It is already being said that the Yuan is being “weaponized”, and if the value of the Yuan continues to fall precipitously it is going to cause a tremendous amount of chaos globally.

So keep an eye on China and on the Chinese financial markets, because big trouble is already brewing

A slew of negative factors — from a trade war with the U.S. to the risk of a credit crunch — has weighed on China’s financial markets in recent weeks. The benchmark Shanghai stock index is on the brink of a bear market after tumbling almost 20 percent from its recent high, while analysts have started cutting their forecasts for the nation’s currency. Investors have been piling into the relative safety of government debt instead.

“The yuan is faced with a double whammy –- escalating trade tensions are hurting sentiment and the easier monetary policy is also pressuring the currency,” said Gao Qi, a currency strategist at Scotiabank in Singapore. “Traders will step up shorting the yuan in the offshore market, but we won’t likely see massive fund outflows considering the capital curbs in place.”

As one surveys the current state of the global economic chessboard, it is easy to see that we are just two or three moves away from a major global economic crisis.

Just like in 2008, that could mean dramatically falling stock prices, surging corporate bankruptcies and millions of Americans losing their jobs.

And this time around, we could be facing much higher prices and a greatly reduced standard of living.

We are way overdue for the next great economic crisis, and now the powers that be seem absolutely determined to bring it on.

Anyone that is optimistic about the global economy in light of these most recent developments is simply not being rational, because we have never seen storm clouds this big on the horizon in all of modern American history.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Why America’s Trade War With China Will Be Absolutely Crippling For The U.S. Economy

Can the global financial system handle a full-blown trade war between the two largest economies on the entire planet?  We have never seen anything like this happen in the modern age, and this is creating a tremendous amount of uncertainty for the financial markets.  Yes, something had to be done, and I have been writing about this for years.  China has been stealing our intellectual property, manipulating currency rates and slapping high tariffs on American goods.  We simply could not allow China to continue to take advantage of us, but now we are so dependent on the Chinese that a trade war with them is going to inevitably produce a great deal of pain.  We are all going to wish that another way could have been found to resolve this crisis, because in the short-term this is definitely going to hurt the U.S. economy.  And if President Trump chooses to press forward with trade wars against Europe, Canada and Mexico at the same time as well, the pain for our economy is going to be off the charts.

Most Americans didn’t even notice, but Donald Trump fired a shot that was very clearly heard all the way over in China on Friday when he slapped a tariff of 25 percent on 50 billion dollars worth of Chinese products

China accused the United States of firing the first shot on Friday when the White House said that it would impose tariffs of 25% on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The announcement confirms a threat first made by President Donald Trump in March and follows months of trade talks between the two sides. A truce was announced in May, but it proved short-lived.

“The United States has kept changing its mind and now launched a trade war,” China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

The Chinese retaliated almost immediately by slapping a 25 percent tariff on 50 billion dollars worth of our goods

China will slap hefty tariffs on U.S. goods in retaliation for President Trump’s decision to levy duties on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Beijing will impose an additional 25 percent tariff on a total of 659 U.S. imports worth about $50 billion, according to a statement on the country’s Ministry of Finance website.

The first batch of tariffs will hit 545 U.S. products worth about $34 billion, including agricultural products, such as soybeans, corn and wheat, automobiles, beef, pork and seafood, and will start July 6.

President Trump took the weekend to think about it, and on Monday he decided to raised the stakes much higher.

If the Chinese really do go ahead with their tariffs, the Trump administration is going to hit them with a 10 percent tariff on another 200 billion dollars worth of their goods.  The following is from Trump’s official statement

This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage, which is reflected in our massive $376 billion trade imbalance in goods. This is unacceptable. Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods, and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States.

Therefore, today, I directed the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent. After the legal process is complete, these tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced. If China increases its tariffs yet again, we will meet that action by pursuing additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods. The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable.

If China does not match each round of tariffs they will look weak, and if Trump does not keep raising the ante every time China matches him then he will look weak.

So where will this end?

Ultimately the goal is more balanced trade with China, which would mean more jobs and more factories here in the United States.

But in the short-term we won’t see any of that.

Instead, all we are going to see is tremendous pain.

First of all, you should expect to see higher prices on any products that are made in China.  This is going to hit consumers that shop at Wal-Mart and the dollar stores particularly hard.

Secondly, any companies that sell products in China are going to be hurting.  It is inevitable that some will start laying off workers, and that means that there will be job losses here in the United States.

And even the expectation of lower profits will send stock prices tumbling.  In fact, we already started to see this happen on Monday

Major American companies that generate a significant chunk of their sales from China, such as Boeing (BA), Caterpillar (CAT), Intel (INTC) and 3M (MMM), were among the losers on the Dow on Monday.

The Dow has fallen nearly 1.5% in the past week and is close to erasing its gains for the year. If a global trade war breaks out and slows economies around the world, it could bring an end to the bull market that has raged for more than nine years.

In the short-term, nothing good is going to come out of this trade war.

And even in the mid-term, the pain is going to far, far outweigh any benefits.

This is why a trade war should always be a last resort.  As much as possible should be accomplished through negotiations, and it is unclear if negotiations were utilized as extensively as they could have in this case.

If China wants to play hardball, they could start dumping U.S. Treasuries or cut off our access to rare earth elements.  If they pulled either trigger, our level of pain would instantly be multiplied.

We can definitely hurt China too, but we do not have any magic bullets that will force them to yield.

Once a trade war begins, it can potentially last for many years, and let us not forget that history has shown us that trade wars can often lead to shooting wars.

I believe that a tragic strategic mistake has been made, and this is not going to end well.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The U.S. Has Decided To Fight Trade Wars With China, Europe, Canada And Mexico Simultaneously, And That Will Be Disastrous For The Global Economy…

One trade war may be enough to push the struggling global economy into another recession, but the U.S. government has apparently decided that it is time to fight trade wars with pretty much all of the major economies around the world at the same time.  This is utter insanity, and it is going to have disastrous consequences that will be felt all over the planet.  Yes, we need to get tough on trade.  If you have followed my work for the last eight years, than you know that I have been a very strong advocate of protecting U.S. manufacturers and U.S. workers.  But these things have got to be handled delicately, because any significant disruption at this point could lead to an absolutely crippling global economic crisis.  Negotiating on an international level requires a great deal of finesse, because if you mess up it can have monumental consequences.  For example, one thing that you shouldn’t do is make an agreement with the second largest economy in the world and then tear it up less than two weeks later

The odds of a messy trade war between the United States and China are rising again.

The Trump administration shocked the world on Tuesday by tearing up a truce with Beijing and announcing it would impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods and restrict Chinese investment in the United States.

Without a doubt China has been taking advantage of us for many years.  They have been slapping our goods with high tariffs and have been shamelessly stealing our intellectual property.  But the Chinese are very proud people, and now they feel like they have been slapped in the face.

So they won’t back down in a trade war, and on Wednesday they said that they “aren’t afraid of fighting one”

China is ready to retaliate after the United States revived plans to hit it with new tariffs.

“We want to reiterate that we don’t want a trade war, but we aren’t afraid of fighting one,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a briefing on Wednesday.

Fighting a trade war with China would be bad enough, but it turns out that we are also starting one with the European Union.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Time’s up! A month ago, President Trump delayed his EU steel and aluminum tariffs decision and as of Friday, that deadline is over and the US allies across Europe will face big decisions on retaliation.

Amid threats from various European leaders – and the potentially unipolar world order repressing blowback from Trump’s Iran decision and subsequent sanctions – The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump administration, unable to win concessions from European Union counterparts ahead of a Friday deadline, is planning to make good on a threat to apply tariffs on European steel and aluminum, according to people familiar with the matter.

The announcement is reportedly likely to occur on Thursday, and will be 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum.

Other than the United States, China and the European Union are the two greatest economic powers on the entire planet.

Picking a fight with both of them at the same time is not wise.

And like China, the Europeans are pledging “swift retaliation”

The metal tariffs threaten €6.4 billion ($7.4 billion) worth of European exports, and the bloc has promised swift retaliation if it is not exempted from the trade penalties.

The European Union updated a list of American products earlier this month that would be hit with 25% tariffs if the United States moved forward. It includes US motorcycles, denim, cigarettes, cranberry juice and peanut butter.

There is more than a trillion dollars worth of trade between the United States and Europe each year, and so this is a very, very big deal.

A trade war should always be a last resort.  Every effort should have been made to negotiate a solution to our trade problems, and that does not appear to have happened.

And in addition to fighting China and Europe, the U.S. government has also decided now would be a good time to start a trade war with our neighbors here in North America as well.

In fact, tough tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada and Mexico could start on Friday

The import taxes could take effect as soon as Friday.

The move is likely to have an immediate impact on global trade in steel and aluminum, particularly between the United States and Canada, the nation’s largest source of imported steel.

The decision also invites retaliation from each of the trading partners, which have vowed to erect new barriers to a range of U.S. products.

Canadians are perhaps the most polite people on the face of the planet, and so it really takes a lot to upset them.

But that is precisely what has happened, and they are pledging to “defend our workers and our industry”

“Our government always is very ready and very prepared to respond appropriately to every action. We are always prepared and ready to defend our workers and our industry,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in Washington on Tuesday.

“Canadian steelworkers should absolutely know that the government of Canada has their back,” she said.

If we start slapping tariffs on all of our trading partners and they retaliate by slapping more tariffs on us, that isn’t suddenly going to bring manufacturing facilities and jobs back to America.

Instead, it will just result in a crippling economic slowdown.

It is true that we simply cannot continue to run a trade deficit of 40 or 50 billion dollars month after month.  The path that we are currently on is a path to national economic suicide.

But simultaneously fighting trade wars with China, Europe, Canada and Mexico is not going to solve anything.

In the end, our recklessness could ultimately be the trigger for the greatest economic crisis that any of us have ever seen.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Imports From China Hit Record High As U.S. Trade Deficit Continues To Explode

It should upset you that virtually everything stocking the shelves of our major retailers seems to have been made somewhere else.  As a nation, we are consuming far more wealth than we are producing, and that is a recipe for national economic suicide.  This week we learned that imports from China hit an all-time record high in October, and that was one of the primary reasons why our trade deficit hit a staggering 48.7 billion dollars during that month.  Year after year we buy far more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us, and this is systematically impoverishing us.

Let me put this another way.  The amount of money that leaves our country each month is far greater than the amount of money that comes into it.  When you grasp this concept, it becomes easy to understand why major exporting nations such as China have become so wealthy, and why we are drowning in debt.

Sadly, most Americans don’t understand the trade deficit, and so they don’t understand how important news like this really is.  The following comes from Bloomberg

The U.S. trade deficit widened in October to a nine-month high on record imports that reflect steady domestic demand, Commerce Department data showed Tuesday.

The surge in imports probably reflected merchants preparing for the holiday-shopping season. Consumer goods imports increased almost $800 million, including a $303 million gain in cell phones and other household goods, as well as more inbound shipments of furniture, appliances, toys and clothing.

Since China joined the WTO in 2001, the United States has lost more than 70,000 manufacturing facilities and millions of good paying manufacturing jobs.  Formerly great manufacturing cities such as Detroit now resemble war zones, but until Donald Trump came along nobody seemed to really care very much about what was happening.

Of course the Chinese are going to keep taking advantage of us for as long as they can.  They slap all sorts of tariffs and fees on our goods, and meanwhile we allow them to flood our shores with their products.  As a result, our trade deficit with China keeps hitting record high after record  high

Record imports from China helped drive up the U.S. trade deficit 8.6 percent in October as retailers stocked up for the holidays, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Goods and services coming into the U.S. from China, Mexico and the European Union all hit record levels, which boosted the trade gap to $48.7 billion from $44.9 billion in September. It’s the highest monthly trade deficit recorded since President Trump took office.

President Trump is precisely correct when he says that our trade agreements are not fair to American workers and American businesses.  We will always need to trade with the rest of the world, but we need to do so in a way that is fair for both sides.  As a member of Congress, I will fight tirelessly for American workers, and if you believe in what I am trying to do I hope that you will join the team.

We simply cannot stand by and do nothing.  Our trade deficits are absolutely killing our long-term economic future, and the only way that we have been able to maintain our standard of living is by going on the greatest debt binge in human history.

If we truly want to make America great again, we need to start making things in America again, and we need to start sending leaders to Washington that understand these issues.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Globalists Are Systematically Destroying America’s Middle Class

When people are dependent on the government they are much easier to control.  We are often told that we are not “compassionate” when we object to the endless expansion of government social programs, but that is not how the debate should be framed.  In America today, well over 100 million people receive money from the federal government each month, and the number of Americans that are truly financially independent is continually shrinking.  In fact, only 25 percent of all Americans have more than $10,000 in savings right now according to one survey.  If we eventually get to the point where virtually all of us are dependent on the government for our continued existence, that would give the globalists a very powerful tool of control.  In the end, they want as many of us dependent on the government as possible, because those that are dependent on the government are a lot less likely to fight against their agenda.

Back in 1992, the bottom 90 percent of American income earners brought in more than 60 percent of the country’s income.  But last year that figure slipped to just 49.7 percent.  The wealth of our society is increasingly being concentrated at the very top, and the middle class is steadily being eroded.  Surveys have found that somewhere around two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time, and so living on the edge has become a way of life for most Americans.

Earlier today, I came across a Business Insider article that was bemoaning the fact that the U.S. economy seems to be rather directionless at this point…

  • We do not have a real plan for health care, and costs continue to gobble up American wages.
  • We do not have a plan for dealing with globalization and economic change, but that change continues to shape our economy.
  • We don’t have a plan to update our decrepit infrastructure.
  • The one plan we did have — the Federal Reserve’s post-financial crisis program — is about to be unwound, marking the end of the last clear, executable plan to bolster America’s economy.

Ultimately, the truth is that we don’t actually need some sort of “central plan” for our economy.  We are supposed to be a free market system that is not guided and directed by central planners, but many Americans don’t even understand the benefits of free market capitalism anymore.

However, that Business Insider article did make a great point about globalization.   Most people don’t realize that our economy is slowly but surely being integrated into a global economic system.   This is really bad for American workers, because now they are being merged into a global labor pool in which they must compete directly for jobs with workers in other countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.

Even down in Mexico, many autoworkers are only making $2.25 an hour

Most of the workers at the new Audi factory in the state of Puebla, inaugurated in 2016 and assembling the Audi Q4 SUV, which carries a sticker price in the US of over $40,000 for base versions, make $2.25 an hour, according to the Union.

Volkswagen, which owns Audi, started building Beetles in Puebla in 1967 and has since created a vast manufacturing empire in Mexico, with vehicles built for consumers in Mexico, the US, Canada, and Latin American markets.

Volkswagen, Ford, GM, or any of the global automakers, which can manufacture just about anywhere in the world, always search for cheap labor to maximize the bottom line.

Would you want to work for $2.25 an hour?

Over time, millions of good paying jobs have been leaving high wage countries and have been going to low wage countries.  The United States has lost more than 70,000 manufacturing facilities since China joined the WTO, and this is one of the biggest factors that has eroded the middle class.

In a desperate attempt to maintain our standard of living, we have gone into increasing amounts of debt.  Of course our federal government is now 20 trillion dollars in debt, but on an individual level we are doing the same thing.  Today, American consumers are over 12 trillion dollars in debt, and it gets worse with each passing day.

The borrower is the servant of the lender, and most Americans have become debt slaves at this point.  This is something that Paul Craig Roberts commented on recently

Americans carry on by accumulating debt and becoming debt slaves. Many can only make the minimum payment on their credit card and thus accumulate debt. The Federal Reserve’s policy has exploded the prices of financial assets. The result is that the bulk of the population lacks discretionary income, and those with financial assets are wealthy until values adjust to reality.

As an economist I cannot identify in history any economy whose affairs have been so badly managed and prospects so severely damaged as the economy of the United States of America. In the short/intermediate run policies that damage the prospects for the American work force benefit what is called the One Percent as jobs offshoring reduces corporate costs and financialization transfers remaining discretionary income in interest and fees to the financial sector. But as consumer discretionary incomes disappear and debt burdens rise, aggregate demand falters, and there is nothing left to drive the economy.

This debt-based system continuously funnels wealth toward the very top of the pyramid, because it is the people at the very top that hold all of the debts.

Each year it gets worse, and most Americans would be absolutely stunned to hear that the top one percent now control 38.6 percent of all wealth in the United States…

The richest 1% of families controlled a record-high 38.6% of the country’s wealth in 2016, according to a Federal Reserve report published on Wednesday.

That’s nearly twice as much as the bottom 90%, which has seen its slice of the pie continue to shrink.

The bottom 90% of families now hold just 22.8% of the wealth, down from about one-third in 1989 when the Fed started tracking this measure.

So how do we fix this?

Well, the truth is that we need to go back to a non-debt based system that does not funnel all of the wealth to the very top of the pyramid.  Unfortunately, most Americans don’t even realize that our current debt-based system is fundamentally flawed, and it will probably take an unprecedented crisis in order to wake people up enough to take action.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Upcoming Trade War Between The U.S. And China Will Be The Biggest In The History Of The Planet

Globe At Night - Public DomainThe United States and China are the two largest economies in the world by far, and the upcoming trade war that is about to erupt will be cataclysmic for both sides.  The Trump administration and the Chinese government are both gearing up for a prolonged trade war, and this is going to have very severe implications for the entire global economy.  During the campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly stated that we “can’t continue to allow China to rape our country”, and he was quite correct about that.  Over the past ten years, the U.S. has run a trade deficit of over $2 trillion with China, and as a result of imbalanced trade we have lost tens of thousands of manufacturing businesses, millions of good paying jobs, and hundreds of billions of dollars of tax revenue.

So clearly something needs to be done to balance our trade with China and other countries.  But the situation must also be handled delicately, because trade disruptions could bring substantial short-term economic pain.

Prior to winning the election, Trump threatened to unilaterally impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports.  Unfortunately, China is not just going to sit there and take whatever Trump throws at them.  Every single time the U.S. has imposed tariffs on Chinese goods in the past, China has responded by slapping tariffs on U.S. goods.

And this time around, the Chinese are already preparing a very harsh response even though Trump has not officially made his move yet…

The policy advisers believe the Trump administration is most likely to impose higher tariffs on targeted sectors where China has a big surplus with the United States, such as steel and furniture, or on state-owned firms.

China could respond with actions such as finding alternative suppliers of agriculture products or machinery and manufactured goods, while cutting its exports of consumer staples such as mobile phones or laptops, they said.

Other options include imposing tax or other restrictions on big U.S. firms operating in China, or limiting their access to China’s fast-growing services sector, they added.

When this coming trade war erupts, economic activity will be reduced significantly.  And considering the fact that U.S. economic growth is projected to be about one percent in the first quarter of 2017, that could be more than enough to push us into a deep recession.

Some of the biggest U.S. exports to China include airplanes, autos and agricultural products, and the Chinese are ready to attack on all of those fronts.  The following comes from CNN

Here’s what Global Times, a newspaper backed by the Communist Party, had to say about how Beijing would respond to tariffs of 45%:

“A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus,” the paper said Monday. “U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted.”

But once again, something must be done for the long-term good of our country.  We have been allowing the Chinese to flood our shores with super cheap goods, but meanwhile they have already been hitting our products with ridiculously high tariffs.  Here is just one example

U.S.-made cars exported to China face tariffs of at least 25 percent, including American-made Cadillacs. The American-made Jeep Grand Cherokee costs $27,490 at U.S. dealerships and cost at least $85,000 in China.

What we have with China today is very far from “free trade”, and if they want to trade with us they need to do so on a level playing field.

But China will never allow that to happen.  As Donald Trump has correctly stated, they have been “raping” us for years, and they are going to fight very hard to keep anything from upsetting the status quo.

Trump has got to do something for the long-term good of the U.S. economy, but he has also got to try to find a way to avoid a major trade war, because a major trade war would be exceedingly painful for both countries.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but more iPhones are actually sold in China than in the United States.  And it is being projected that Boeing will sell nearly 7,000 airplanes to China over the next decade…

By the end of 2015, Chinese consumers bought 131 million iPhones. The total sales to U.S. customers during the same period stood at only 110 million. And iPhones are only a small part of U.S. exports. Boeing, which employs 150,000 workers in the U.S., estimates that China will buy some 6,810 airplanes over the next 20 years, and that market alone will be worth more than $1 trillion.

So what happens if all or part of that economic activity goes away?

According to one study, in the short-term millions of U.S. jobs could potentially be at risk if a major trade war happens…

“Millions of American jobs that appear unconnected to international trade—disproportionately lower-skilled and lower-wage jobs—would be at risk,” according to the PIIE study.

And of course a major trade war would hit American consumers very hard as well.

Just think about it.  When you go into a Wal-Mart or a dollar store, are more of the products made in the United States or in China?

A trade war would hit all of us in the wallet as the cost of living goes up.  And considering the fact that about two-thirds of the country is essentially living paycheck to paycheck, that would not be a good thing.

So yes, our trading relationship with China definitely needs to be rebalanced, but Trump needs to find a way to make this transition as minimally disruptive as possible.

A major trade war is just one of the “black swans” that could push us into the kind of economic nightmare scenario that I have been warning about for a very long time.  And sometimes a trade war can serve as a prelude to a real war.  The South China Sea has become a major sticking point between the U.S. and China, and the Chinese are getting ready to cross one of the “red lines” that Barack Obama established while he was still in office…

Beijing has plans to start construction on the disputed Scarborough Shoal this year.

China has reclaimed land in both the Spratly and Paracel Islands and constructed military outposts, but it has been hesitant to start construction on the Scarborough Shoal. Xiao Jie, the mayor of Sansha — an administrative base for China’s South China Sea activities masquerading as a city — said this week that China intends to construct environmental monitoring stations on a number of territories in the South China Sea, including the Scarborough Shoal.

So how will Trump respond when construction on Scarborough Shoal actually begins?

It will be very interesting to watch how that plays out.

The relationship between the United States and China was starting to deteriorate badly even before Donald Trump was elected, and it is very easy to see how it could totally break down in the months ahead.

And considering how interconnected the global economy is today, the United States and China could easily end up dragging down everyone else along with them.