The Administration Proposes Another $200 bn Taxable Imports of Chinese Goods

The announcement of proposed items is here. From the announcement:

USTR and the interagency Section 301 Committee carefully reviewed the public comments and the testimony from the public hearing. USTR and the Section 301 Committee also carefully reviewed the extent to which the tariff subheadings in the April 6, 2018 notice include products containing industrially significant technology, including technologies and products related to China’s “Made in China 2025” industrial policy program.

The Administration might think they have the upper hand because the US imports more than it exports to China of final goods and services.

Figure 1: US exports of goods and services to China (blue), and imports of goods and services from China (red), in billions $, SAAR. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray; orange denotes Trump administration. Dashed pink line at $37 bn denotes value of imports already subject to imposed Sec. 232 and Sec. 301 tariffs. Dashed pink line $250 bn denotes value of imports potentially covered. Source: BEA/BuCensus.

The point is that China can retaliate along other dimensions, including making the operations of US multinationals operating in China very complicated, or letting their currency depreciate. Or should US interest rates pop up more than is comfortable for American policymakers, they can reduce holdings of Treasurys. Just failing to increase Treasury holdings when US debt issuance increases due to the TCJA could be painful.

I think the administration could have better pursued its (purported) aim to hinder the Made in China 2025 program by implementing to the full extent of the original recommendation the banning of purchases by ZTE. The imposition of another $200 billion worth of taxes impose pain, but will not necessarily induce China to forego its Made in China 2025 program. At the same time, it will likely raise costs for US firms that use Chinese intermediate inputs. Consider “HTSUS subheading 8414.59.15: Fans used for cooling microprocessors, telecommunications equipment, or computers”. Great, laptops, PCs, servers will all now cost more.

And some things are just plain bizarre: “HTSUS subheading 9706.00.00: Antiques of an age exceeding one hundred years” That’s just a handout to the current American holders of Chinese antiques (and to forgers of such items). Betcha one or two administration officials have some of those items.

I might also note that not counted in the tabulation is the set of antidumping and countervailing duties already imposed on Chinese goods.

I want to know who is on the interagency Section 301 committee…

81 thoughts on “The Administration Proposes Another $200 bn Taxable Imports of Chinese Goods

  1. Moses Herzog

    @ Menzie
    I admit I can be “a little slow to the take” sometimes. Your last question implies an “informal” type “Section 301 Committee”?? I’m not trying to be coy here, seriously curious.

    The first places I would look for this type info is WaPo and Politico, with NYT being a close 3rd. Then Bloomberg, and it gets to be a collage after that.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Moses Herzog: In the old days, a Section 301 interagency committee would probably have USTR, a rep from Commerce, someone from NEC, somebody from State. In this bizarro world, I don’t know who would be on the committee.

  2. Moses Herzog

    Wondering if anyone else is having problems getting the USTR website to come up?? I tried 2 different links and it was acting like a B*tch. Anyway, I’m kinda 66% assuming Menzie meant a more “informal” Section 301 committee. But on the smaller chance Menzie actually meant a formal version here is something I found on Politico:

    “TRUMP PICKS THREE FOR TRADE COMMITTEE: Trump announced on Monday his intention to appoint three new members of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, a high-level group of business, labor and agriculture industry representatives that advise the U.S. Trade Representative on trade matters. Chief among those picked for a four-year term is Dan DiMicco, former CEO of steel company Nucor and trade adviser to Trump during his campaign and transition.

    American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall was also tapped to serve on the committee. The third pick was Leslie B. Daniels, an operating partner of AE Industrial Partners, a private equity firm that specializes in aerospace, power generation and specialty industrial businesses.”

    The article is by a guy named Adam Behsudi and maybe he is the guy to ask this type of question?? Or maybe that Swanson chick and NYT?? Behsudi’s email is in the article, about 1/4 of the way down using your scroll bar:

    Also, here is a February 2018 link on some USTR nominees, also written by Adam Behsudi at Politico:

  3. Not Trampis

    This is of course totally against WTO rules.
    If only Trump was a conservative and adhered and supported a rules based trading system.

    1. Moses Herzog

      So stronge……. I seem to remember some people voted for him. Even some white women and Evangelicals. Maybe I was hallucinating??

      Oh wait……. yeah, I was hallucinating. It was the same time I hallucinated that 83% of Alabama conservatives voted for a pedophile judge. Damn, when am I gonna learn my lesson and lay off that Mexican food?? We all know only sicko liberals would vote for a predatory pedo

  4. Moses Herzog

    Anyone who was on the fence or “hesitant” to watch the new version of “Death Wish” with Bruce Willis for “PC” reasons, I wanna tell you to stream it on Amazon or buy the disc at Wal-Mart or whatever your way is, because I finally watched it these Wednesday am hours, thought it F’ing ROCKED!!!. Give it 8 stars out of 10. Was it predictable on certain levels?? Yes, but people who watch that genre want a certain “formula”, and the Willis “Death Wish” provides it without putting you to sleep towards the end. I think they played it “straight” with no “wink winks” at the camera (with the possible exception of the girl at the gun shop), which would have ruined it. It’s not racist by any means. So if you were tempted but reticent because of some people getting their panties in bind—do yourself a favor—rent it or out-and-out buy it when it drops under $10. It was a BLAST!!!! (pun intended)

  5. Moses Herzog

    Watching this film right now.

    As I watch certain scenes in “The Death of Stalin” some names keep popping into my mind: Chuck Grassley, Devin Nunes, Mitch McConnell, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Sensitive Stevie Mnuchin, Jeff Sessions, Peter Navarro, Brett Kavanaugh. Who’s next to prove they were born sans testicles?? Step right in to the big top tent.

  6. PeakTrader

    China intends to continue cheating, coercing, and stealing:

    “”China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” Trump said in June. “Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong.”

    The United States remains willing to engage in negotiations with China on the issues at hand, he added.

    But senior Trump administration officials said on a call with reporters Tuesday that so far, the two sides haven’t gotten anywhere.

    “They continue to insist the problems we’ve identified are not real problems,” a senior administration official said.”

    1. pgl

      The Russian bot forgot to mention this:

      China’s Commerce Ministry said Wednesday that the Trump administration’s announcement of new measures was “unacceptable.” It warned that China would have to respond with “necessary countermeasures” without providing details. “The action from the US is hurting China, hurting the whole world and also hurting the US itself,” the ministry said in a statement.

      China’s Commerce Ministry is making a lot more sense than that babbling idiot the U.S. has as its President.

      1. PeakTrader

        Pgl, you’re always defending communist, socialist, and corrupt regimes, along with naively believing propaganda.

      2. baffling

        “The action from the US is hurting China, hurting the whole world and also hurting the US itself,”
        sounds a lot like what we are hearing form republican politicians as well. you want to call them names too, peak?

        peaks constant comments about communists and socialist leads me to believe he is still living in the early 1980’s.

    2. 2slugbaits

      PeakTrader So if, as you say, “China intends to continue cheating, coercing, and stealing” even in the face of Trump’s tariffs, how does this lead to the kind of Chinese surrender you were predicting only a few days ago? Seems to me that your own links are at odds with what you were arguing last week. If what you are saying here is to be believed, then clearly Trump’s use of tariffs as a negotiating tactics is not working. Instead of caving into pressure, the Chinese seem to be digging in their heels. If trade wars are really easy to win, then why did Trump just have to add another $200B in tariffs? Maybe Trump isn’t the master negotiator of your fantasies. Maybe he really is as stupid and clueless as some of us have been telling you. Maybe you ought to admit the truth about Trump.

      1. PeakTrader

        2slugbaits, first, it sends a message to our enemies Trump means what he says, which will deter future aggression.

        And, secondly, Trump is not responsible for unreasonable and stupid choices by foreigners.

        China, like our other trading partners, needs to take advantage of the relative success of the U.S. economy to support their inferior communist, socialist, or corrupt economies.

        China needs to negotiate and improve its economic system to offset losing its unfair trading advantages. Therefore, the global economy will become more prosperous.

        1. 2slugbaits

          PeakTrader Trump means what he says, which will deter future aggression.

          But by your own admission exactly the opposite is happening. Instead of backing down, China is upping the ante. Far from deterring China, Trump’s actions are stimulating ever increasing retaliation. So even judging by your own standards Trump’s policy has failed.

          China, like our other trading partners, needs to take advantage of the relative success of the U.S. economy

          Isn’t that what China has been doing? And haven’t both sides benefited from trade?

          China needs to negotiate and improve its economic system to offset losing its unfair trading advantages.

          So you’re urging China to improve itself by doing what it thinks is in its own interest??? And don’t those “unfair” trade practices primarily hurt the Chinese?

          the global economy will become more prosperous.

          The global economy would also be more prosperous if Trump didn’t incite a trade war.

          1. PeakTrader

            2slugbaits, that’s a total misunderstanding of what I said.

            You should be working at CNN.

          2. 2slugbaits

            PeakTrader a total misunderstanding of what I said.

            No, I think it was a fair parsing out of your otherwise inchoate thoughts. The problem is that you don’t always think through the stuff you say. But you have company in CoRev. He frequently blurts out comments that aren’t fully thought through and then he blames others for fleshing them out.

          3. PeakTrader

            2slugbaits, obviously, you have a comprehension problem.

            You need to understand what people say, not what you think they said or want them to say.

            Of course, it’s even worse with other liberal/socialists. They’ll just believe it’s racist.

          4. baffling

            2slugs does not have a comprehension problem. peakloser and corev simply produce too many incoherent comments. it is hard to keep up with your stooopidity.

          5. PeakTrader

            Baffling, your comprehension problem is much worse.

            I hope, you’re not going to cry.

    3. baffling

      ”China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,”
      much of that “unfair” acquisition was actually us companies agreeing to fork over their ip property and technology. it was not stolen. it was a conscious decision on the part of businessmen. so for those who believe in the free market and superiority of business people, let this be a lesson that some of our biggest business leaders may not be as bright as you would hope. this is a case where “theory” of rational business decisions has been thwarted by the reality of irrational business decisions.

  7. pgl

    I checked the source of your graph of U.S. imports from China:

    Table 2. U.S. International Trade by Selected Countries and Areas – Imports of Goods and Services

    Sure enough, these imports rose from less than $480 billion in 2016 to almost $524 billion in 2017. Which means under Trump we are losing assuming you accept this bizarre Trumpian logic. I guess Team Trump really has no clue what it is doing!

  8. JBH

    Withdraw from NATO. No need for NATO since 1991. Big savings for American taxpayer. Withdraw from WTO. China violates level playing field rules. China protects with high tariffs, non-tariff barriers, and other regulatory hurdles. Where is the cost benefit analysis on this? China has gained global dominance in select manufacturing industries through preferential loans, below-market utility rates, and lax environmental and health and safety standards. Where is the cost benefit analysis? China engages in physical and cybertheft of US tech and IP, counterfeiting and piracy, reverse engineering, discriminatory patent restrictions, forcing US multinationals to do local R&D. The list goes on. There are National Security implications. Again, where is the cost benefit analysis? Where on the Ricardian comparative advantage Edgeworth box is any of this? Nowhere. Static box. Ivory tower teachers. Where are US industries and firms that could have been? Where is the dynamic future? Stillborn! Nowhere and never will be. Yet now a president with a command of the real world has taken the bull by the horns. Disrupting the corrupt global order and taking away the gravy train from allies and enemies alike. Good for debt-slave college grads, many with student loans nearly impossible to repay unless something is done. Good for the US middle class. Good in fact for all America! Except those with their nose in the trough.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      JBH: You decry static analysis, but cite the absence of an Edgeworth box. In a standard monopolistic competition model of international trade (where there are economies of scale), market size increases due to trade liberalization are welfare enhancing. What happens when tariffs are raised? I have to ask, did you type your comment after an early morning bourbon or two?

      1. Moses Herzog

        With all due respect—-Don’t tarnish the name of good bourbon Sir!!!! Bourbon has fertilized many a great thought. Hell, maybe even a Campari or two…..or three….. or……….

      2. JBH

        Menzie: I ignore your misreading and misrepresenting me about the Edgeworth box. Absence? Huh? I also ignore your predictable nasty sniping. Where, instead, is even the semblance of any constructive feedback about a holistic cost-benefit analysis regarding the important categories and sub-categories of US-China trade I laid out that encompasses both present and future?

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          JBH: Please tell me how I misrepresented your statement about an Edgeworth box. And how is reference to monopolistic competition models of international trade (you wanted dynamics, after all) “nasty sniping”? Please go back to that bottle.

        2. 2slugbaits

          JBH If you’re so concerned with a “dynamic” analysis, then why aren’t you worried about the dynamic effects of Trump’s widening fiscal deficits and how those are likely to affect the current account balance and the exchange rate? And if you’re so worried about IP theft, then why did you recommend withdrawing from the WTO? And since you’re so worried about China gaining manufacturing dominance through preferential loans, can we conclude that you are equally outraged over US dominance of certain technologies through granting excessively restrictive anti-competitive monopoly rights called “patents” and “copyrights”? Show us the benefit-cost analysis of ridiculously long lived patent and copyright privileges. Show us the benefit-cost analysis of autarky. You sound like yet another mercantilist.

      3. 2slugbaits

        Menzie Do you seriously believe JBH understands an Edgeworth box? But I don’t think it was bourbon. My guess is that his tinfoil hat was tuned into a Lyndon LaRouche late night infomercial on cable. Or maybe those black helicopters kept him awake last night.

  9. Steven Kopits

    I am still struggling to understand US objectives in this trade war.

    Here’s a list from CSIS (, with my comments.

    1. Require China to limit subsidies to pre-competitive research and development (R&D) and make them available to domestic and foreign firms alike
    SK: ARPA, DARPA, US basic research support: How is that qualitatively different from what the Chinese are doing? Doesn’t the US government subsidize all kinds of technology research, ie, the internet, GPS, etc.?

    2. Eliminate ownership caps and joint venture requirements for foreign investors
    SK: This is a worthy goal, but ultimately companies voluntarily agree to these terms. Other countries also have jv and foreign ownership limits, including in US strategic industries.

    3. Eliminate technology transfer requirements
    SK: Same as 2.

    4. Lower tariffs on manufactured products such as automobiles and machinery
    SK: OK, to what?

    5. Fully open up value-added services (finance, health care, education, and logistics) to private and foreign firms alike
    SK: You mean like we have with the Europeans? Hell, Britain won’t have open access to the EU financial services sector after Brexit.

    6. Move toward market-based standards and certification systems
    SK: What does a ‘move toward’ mean?

    7. Better gear its cybersecurity regime to promote global commerce and protect privacy
    SK: Are we having a global trade war over this? What is the specific desired outcome?

    8. Liberalize government procurement
    SK: Make it like US procurement. You’ll notice all those foreign cars used by US police forces.

    9. End window guidance for bank interest rates and adopt a neutral registration system for initial public offerings
    SK: Again,we are having a trade war over this?

    10. Make the national and local regulatory process more transparent.
    SK: It would be great if the US position on this topic were more transparent.

    [11. Cut trade deficit with China.]
    SK: This item is not on the CSIS list, but has been stated as a key goal by President Trump. It’s hard to do.

    Here’s the USTR position paper: I can’t make sense of it.

    This whole negotiating process is chaotic and very poorly documented. I cannot understand US objectives, which of these are really important and which are merely ‘laundry list’. I cannot clearly ascertain what might constitute victory.

    I fear the Chinese public will see as much, with the whole thing coming down to ‘beat up the Chinese kid on the playground.’

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Steven Kopits: Here we agree. It *is* ‘beat up the Chinese kid’, as well as ‘beat up the Mexican kid”, and ‘beat up the German kid’. In other words, Trump has coopted American trade policy to become world bully.

      1. Ed Hanson

        Not the world’s bully Menzie, but to exert out economic power to change from detrimental trade agreements to ones the treat us evenly. For too long the US has accepted lopsided tariffs. And allowed the WTO to defend that treatment.

        Not that you ever take my suggestions for a topic post, but here is another on anyway. Put up one of your charts to show the major stock markets of the major economies. It would be interesting if the start date for such charts be about 2008 or so, beginning of the great recession. No need to normalize to any date, a good graph will show relative changes just find with out such. Purpose of such a graph, use of the fact that stock markets are one of the best predictors of the future, and it would be interesting how well they have done.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Ed Hanson: As Paul Samuelson used to say, “the stock market has predicted nine of the last five recessions…”

          Remember in the canonical asset pricing model, stock prices are the present discounted value of expected dividends into the infinite future, discounted by the risk free rate plus the equity premium. Interest rates rise as recoveries gather stream reducing the PDV. Dividends are linked to retained earnings, so they could fall even as a recovery continues. All this suggests that stock prices need not predict reliably recessions.

          That is why trained economists in academia and Wall Street look more to the yield curve (or in more recent times, the credit spreads).

    2. PeakTrader

      The U.S. objective is to bring the communist Chinese to the negotiating table to talk about the trade issues that concern the U.S..

      China doesn’t want to give up any of it’s unfair trading practices. So, there’s nothing to negotiate.

      1. pgl

        So you are now saying Trump’s Grand Plan is a total failure. Surprise, surprise, surprise!

        1. baffling

          so i think we can all agree that the current action will not make any changes, other than continue a trade war which reduces the global economy. peak, is this what you consider a victory?

      2. 2slugbaits

        PeakTrader And you don’t see any tension between these two statements you just made:

        The U.S. objective is to bring the communist Chinese to the negotiating table…

        followed by

        So, there’s nothing to negotiate.

        That isn’t even coherent.

        1. PeakTrader

          2slugbaits, the facts support my statement.

          There’s an explanation why there has been no negotiation.

          1. PeakTrader

            A victory for Baffling is when the U.S., along with the global economy lose.

            And, allowing cheating, coercing, and stealing.

            Calling Baffling a simple idiot is an insult to simple idiots.

          2. baffling

            “A victory for Baffling is when the U.S., along with the global economy lose.”
            peaky, your approach makes both the us and global economy even worse off. idiot.

    3. King John's return

      I believe that Trump has a very clear objective, not only with the trade war, but all of his policies. He is attempting to isolate the U.S. globally from its allies, hurt it economically and move the country away from democratic values to a country that will be more reflective of his favorite plutocratic nation (Russia). He is seeking a full realignment of the world order where the richest nation (us) is more aligned with Russia and Putin.
      This morning Trump said that Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will get 60-70% of their energy from Russia. I’m curious where everyone thinks Trump gets the vast majority of his real estate/condo sales from? (Hint: Russia).

      If he gets 60-70% of his company’s income from Russia, does that mean he is totally controlled by Russia?
      Where did he get the idea to limit military exercises in South Korea? Oh right…
      Why is he attacking NATO allies? Let’s see…

  10. Steven Kopits

    If China wants to hurt the US, it should forbid Chinese students from studying here. The economics of many a private school hinges on full-ride Chinese students.

    1. 2slugbaits

      They’ve been doing just that. I have a couple of brothers at large universities and a few months ago they were telling me that the number of Chinese students signing up for classes next year has fallen off the cliff.

  11. jammer1297

    Hi Professor,

    I admit to being confused, although not by you. Since US tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports will exceed the tariffs imposed by China on US exports (approx. $150 billion), shouldn’t we expect the flow of dollars to China to decline? All things being equal, doesn’t this point to a decline of both the yuan and the purchases of US Treasurys? Rather than China “weaponizing,” as some market pundits say, isn’t this the natural outcome of the Trump tariffs?


    1. pgl

      Interesting analogy but most bulls are a lot more athletic that our fatso President with his bad knees.

  12. pgl

    We all know Trump is a total economic moron but this is dumb even for him:
    ‘Donald Trump was expected to arrive at Nato in full assault mode and he did not disappoint: berating Germany for being supposedly “totally controlled” by and becoming “a captive” of Russia, in his very first meeting…Some of Mr Trump’s assertions, unsurprisingly, were incorrect. He claimed that “Germany is getting 60 to 70 per cent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline” – in reality around 20 per cent of German energy use is from oil and gas imports from Russia.’

    I buy 70% of my groceries from a store near 5th Avenue and about 20% of my groceries from another store on 7th Avenue. I am controlled by neither. Germany can buy oil from whoever they choose and I’m sure they get a good deal. Now Russia needs oil customers a lot more than Germany needs Russian oil.

    Maybe Trump was trying to intimidate Merkel but I’m sure she fell on the floor laughing at Trump’s incredible stupidity.

      1. PeakTrader

        Above is what Trump likely meant.

        Germany is willing to buy Russian energy and unwilling to pay for NATO.

        Trump should berate Germany.

        1. baffling

          and as germany continues to build up a renewable energy infrastructure, it will need even less russian energy. but you morons who snark at the german renewable energy movement already understood that, right?

          1. baffling

            seriously corev, you do understand how german renewables counter the problem of imported russian energy and help to solve a national security threat? or is this over your head? but you can continue to complain about renewables all you want. the us has funded arpa-e for this very reason. constructive rather than destructive defense spending.

          2. CoRev

            Baffled, Bwa, ha, ha ,ha! I guess increasing needs for Russian gas is resolved than. Oh and German GHGs are decreasing faster than the US’s. Or that Germany’s electricity is the cheapest in of the EU members and far, far cheaper than the US.

          3. CoRev

            Baffled, I’ll make it easy for any anyone still reading this thread; the 2018 US average for all sectors is: $10.23 (Cents per Kilowatthour)
            in 2017 EU members generally pay considerably more:
            Denmark is # 1 at $30.5 (Cents per Kilowatthour)
            Germany is #2 at $30.5 (Cents per Kilowatthour)
            The avg for the EU is $20.5 (Cents per Kilowatthour
            Only Bulgaria is lower than the US at $9.6 (Cents per Kilowatthour)

            Both Germany and Denmark heavily rely on renewable energy sources, in particular wind power.

            To be clear, Denmark’s electricity generation price is comparatively low, but taxes makes their costs the highest. It would be a fair comment to say taxes paid for much of the development of renewable capability. In 2016 Denmark provided ~56% of its electricity with renewables.

            Germany announced in 2017 it reached 38.5% of the country’s gross power generation from renewables. A brief search did not result in any definitive data on German energy taxes.

          4. baffling

            corev, does the growth in renewable energy sources in germany increase or decrease the german reliance on imported russian energy? trump seems to think german reliance on russian nat gas is a bad thing. you seem to be arguing against your dear leader. idiot.

        2. pgl

          What Trump likely meant? OK he flunked preK arithmetic too. Lord – can you be MORE STOOOPID?

          Scratch that as we know you can!

      2. pgl

        So let’s get this straight. German’s imports of energy from all nations is less than 64% and this someone justifies Trump saying Germany gets 70% of its energy from Russia. Hey PeakStupidity, the kids in preK are laughing at how badly your just flunked basic arithmetic!

      3. pgl

        Hey Peaky – once your preK teaches manages to get you to read a map, take a look at the map in your link. Spot Norway and Scotland if you can. Now have your preK teacher tell you about the North Sea as they is a lot of oil there for Germany to import.

        The more PeakStupidity tries to defend Trump, the dumber Trump looks. And we thought that was not possible!

    1. pgl

      According to Census, we imported $7.5 billion of petroleum products from RUSSIA. Of course that is OK but if that bitch Merkel signs a deal for petroleum from RUSSIA – that is evil. Trump has a problem with strong women leaders apparently.

    2. 2slugbaits

      I think there was a small kernel of truth in Trump’s comment, but as usual he wildly exaggerated and drew the wrong conclusion. I think he’s right to point out that NATO countries (not just Germany) risk becoming vulnerable to Russian threats of cutting off natural gas supplies, although the threat of cutting off oil supplies is far less of a concern. But Trump drew the wrong conclusion. To the extent that NATO vulnerability to Russian leverage over gas supplies represents a national security threat, then the appropriate lesson is that NATO should be redirecting some of that 2% defense budget towards obtaining less vulnerable energy supplies. There’s no obvious reason why “defense spending” should be restricted to armored brigades, air wings and fleets. How about fewer Abrams tanks and more solar panels?

      1. baffling

        russia threatening to cut off supplies would cut off its nose to spite its face. right now, russia has only one export the world desires-energy. people may not like russia, but they will buy that gas and oil only if it is considered a reliable source. if it becomes “intermittent” in the words of critters like corev and peak, then it is not reliable and another energy source will be required. if that were to occur, russian oil and gas would plummet in value. that does not help putin and his cronies in the least. so let the blowhards on both sides talk all they want, my guess is no action would be taken on the threat of cutting off energy supplies to europe.

        2slugs is correct in that more of the defense money should go to securing renewables. actually, there has already been a lot of money allocated to renewables in germany. merkel should simply move that subsidy to the military budget and be done with it all. or we could have the current critters continue to protest german spending on renewables.

        1. pgl

          “russia threatening to cut off supplies would cut off its nose to spite its face. right now, russia has only one export the world desires-energy.”

          A big reason why Russian GDP sucked under Yeltsin was the fall in oil prices. I know people like Trump and PeakStupidity will not get your point here but it is an excellent one.

        2. pgl

          Russia’s exports:

          Russia exported $269B and imported $180B, resulting in a positive trade balance of $88.6B. In 2016 the GDP of Russia was $1.28T and its GDP per capita was $24.8k.The top exports of Russia are Crude Petroleum ($75.7B), Refined Petroleum ($43.1B), Petroleum Gas ($16B), Coal Briquettes ($10.4B) and Raw Aluminium ($6.08B), using the 1992 revision of the HS (Harmonized System) classification. Its top imports are Cars ($7.21B), Packaged Medicaments ($7.03B), Vehicle Parts ($5.64B), Computers ($3.98B) and Broadcasting Equipment ($3.83B). The top export destinations of Russia are China ($30.3B), the Netherlands ($22.9B), Germany ($15.9B), Belarus ($14.1B) and the United States ($12.3B).

          Russia does depend a lot on energy exports. And guess what – we buy almost as much as the Russians do. So was Trump lying hoping people like PeakStupidity are too dumb to get it or is Trump really this incredibly stupid?

  13. Benlu


    Trade war is a less incendiary means to whip all in the empire into line. It is easy to wage as well as reverse and better still no one dies.

  14. pgl

    All this talk about Germany spending more on war forgets World War II. When the Allies won over the Nazis and the Germans, we wanted them not to rebuild their military machines. Yes – Japan got our defense and was able to use more of their resources to rebuild their economies. But guess what – that was U.S. foreign policy back in the day.

    Trump shows he knows nothing about history either. And of course his Minny Me aka PeakStupidity knows even less about history.

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