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News from China
Chinese yuan weakens to 6.8347 against USD Monday
3rd September 2018
The central parity rate of the Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, weakened 101 basis points to 6.8347 against the U.S. dollar Monday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System.
In China's spot foreign exchange market, the yuan is allowed to rise or fall by 2 percent from the central parity rate each trading day.
The central parity rate of the yuan against the U.S. dollar is based on a weighted average of prices offered by market makers before the opening of the interbank market each business day. 
Source: News xinhuanet
Trump threatens to withdraw US from WTO
31st August 2018

 U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to pull his country out of the World Trade Organization, a move that could further undermine the global trading system and economic stability.

"If they don't shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO," Trump said during an interview with Bloomberg News at the Oval Office.

The comments came as Washington's trade disputes with other economies continue to put global economy at risk, as pundits urge them to be addressed via multilateralism, including the WTO.

Created in 1994, the WTO was a part of a US-led effort by major economies to help settle trade disputes and bring stability to the world economy.

The head of the WTO called earlier this year for restraint and urgent dialogue within its system to stop trade frictions from damaging the world economy.

"Actions taken outside these collective processes greatly increase the risk of escalation in a confrontation that will have no winners, and which could quickly lead to a less stable trading system," WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said in March.

Trump has attacked the WTO, a cornerstone of the port-World War II multilateral trading system, for what he calls unfair treatment for the world's largest economy, while urging the Geneva-based body to "change their ways."

In the interview with Bloomberg News, Trump also claimed that Washington has rarely won at the WTO.

Countries that bring complaints to the WTO tend to prevail and defendants in trade disputes lose, Bloomberg News said.

According to the Cato Institute, a Washington policy group that favors more open international trade, the United States has won over 90 percent of the cases that it has initiated and has also brought more cases than any other WTO member.

Meanwhile, Washington has lost almost 90 percent of the cases brought against it at the WTO.

But top officials in the Trump administration haven't been as eager to pull out of the body. In July, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC that talk to withdraw from the WTO was "a little premature."

Source: Shanghai Daily, August 31, 2018
Russia to present counterarguments over tariffs dispute with US at WTO: Kremlin
30th August 2018

 Moscow will put forward a wide range of counterarguments at the World Trade Organization in dispute with Washington over increased duties on a number of US products imposed by Russia, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.

"We do not consider it normal. On the other hand, this is their legal right, and, of course, Russia in this case will use a wide range of counterarguments," Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Russia's Sputnik news agency.
Earlier in the day, the US filed a complaint at the WTO requesting consultations with Russia over its "unfair" new tariffs on certain US goods.
On August 5, Russia started imposing additional import tariffs of 25-40 percent for a range of US goods, in retaliation to US extra tariffs of 25 percent on steel and of 10 percent on aluminum starting on March 23.
The request for consultations served as the first step in the legal proceedings within the WTO framework. If the consultations fail to yield results, a specific panel will be set up to settle the dispute.
On Wednesday, the Russian Economic Development Ministry also dismissed the US move, saying that Washington "incorrectly interpreted the nature of the measures taken by Moscow."
"We are acting within the framework of WTO agreement on special protective measures, which allows countries to compensate for damages caused by 'special protective measures' taken by another country (the US in this case)," the ministry said in a statement.
The volume of new Russian tariffs at the current stage will amount to US$87.6 million a year, according to a previous statement by the ministry
Source: Shanghai Daily, August 30, 2018
WTO chief calls for action to safeguard global trade order
29th August 2018

 Global trade is under threat and whether or not the current situation is a trade war, the first shots have been fired and this calls for action, Director General of the World Trade Organization Roberto Azevedo has said.

WTO data showed a marked escalation of trade restrictive measures over the last six months, he wrote in an opinion piece released Tuesday by Swissinfo, the website of the Swiss national broadcaster.
"A continued escalation would risk a major economic impact, threatening jobs and growth in all countries, hitting the poorest the hardest," Azevedo said.
"A number of import-facilitating measures were also recorded during the same period, but crucially the value of trade covered by these measures is falling, whereas the coverage of the restrictive measures is rising rapidly," he said.
Azevedo said the whole international community has a responsibility to help resolve these issues.
He said he has been consulting with governments and leaders around the world, urging dialogue and exploring steps to unwind the current situation.
Azevedo said he has also been talking to a wider range of contacts across civil society including parliaments, businesses, think tanks and the media to raise awareness of what is at stake.
"I am calling on everyone who believes in trade as a force for good, and that global trade rules are an essential foundation for economic stability and prosperity, to speak up," said the WTO chief.
"Silence could prove as damaging as actions that lead to a trade war," he said.
He noted that there have been some signs of progress and that people are beginning to speak up. "Business leaders and associations are calling on governments to refrain from putting up new barriers. They are asking for governments to negotiate and find solutions."
There is, he said, a wider understanding that higher tariffs mean higher prices and lower salaries in real terms, and that greater uncertainty risks investors pulling back and jobs being lost.
"And from leaders around the world, we are seeing much greater engagement in the WTO. Instead of tearing it up, they want to strengthen the system and improve it," said Azevedo.
He said this could potentially help defuse tensions and find "a path out of the current crisis in global trade."
Source: Shanghai Daily, August 29, 2018

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