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TARIFF TIME

TARIFF TIME

Early this morning, the Trump administration implemented 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of US imports from China. The measures aim to combat perceived Chinese trade abuses and counter unfair state support for domestic technology firms. As expected, China responded in kind with tariffs on the same amount in US exports.


This latest round of tit-for-tat signals a major escalation in the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China. Is anyone winning? Here’s Gabe Lipton with some thoughts on where each side stands:

President Trump believes he’s playing a stronger hand:

  • The US economy is strong: The Atlanta Fed projects the US economy to grow at an annualized rate of 4.8 percent in the second quarter of the year. For the first time in more than 20 years, there aremore job openings in the US than people looking for jobs.
  • China faces its own set of economic challenges: In the past few weeks, China’s currency and stock market have plunged, painful reminders of a period of weakness in 2015 that rattled investors and the country’s political class.
  • And China can’t go blow-for-blow with the US on tariffs: China imports about $130 billion in goods from the US, and the US about $500 billion from China. China will run out of goods on which to place tariffs long before the US does.

But Xi Jinping’s not ready to back down:

  • Xi’s less vulnerable: He doesn’t face the same business and political constituencies that could force Donald Trump to back down. And he doesn’t need to win Michigan or Pennsylvania to maintain power.
  • China’s home grown economic woes are mostly positive: The recent slowdown and related market turmoil comes as much from deliberate steps that are part of Xi’s reform efforts as by Trump’s trade actions.
  • And China can hit the US in other ways: Tariffs are far from the only weapon. Beijing can restrict US companies' access to the Chinese market or cut Chinese tourism to the US. When it comes to trade war, the power of near complete control over business and society shouldn’t be underestimated.

President Trump says that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” How much damage will be done before we find out whether he’s right?

Microsoft released a new annual report, called the Digital Defense Report, covering cybersecurity trends from the past year. This report makes it clear that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot and that threaten even the savviest targets. For example, nation-state actors are engaging in new reconnaissance techniques that increase their chances of compromising high-value targets, criminal groups targeting businesses have moved their infrastructure to the cloud to hide among legitimate services, and attackers have developed new ways to scour the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware. Given the leap in attack sophistication in the past year, it is more important than ever that steps are taken to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace: that all organizations, whether government agencies or businesses, invest in people and technology to help stop attacks; and that people focus on the basics, including regular application of security updates, comprehensive backup policies, and, especially, enabling multi-factor authentication. Microsoft summarized some of the most important insights in this year's report, including related suggestions for people and businesses.

Read the whole post and report at Microsoft On The Issues.

On Tuesday night, you can finally watch Trump and Biden tangle on the debate stage. But you TOO can go head to head on debate night .. with your fellow US politics junkies.

Print out GZERO's handy debate BINGO cards and get ready to rumble. There are four different cards so that each player may have a unique board. Every time one of the candidates says one of these words or terms, X it on your card. First player to get five across wins. And if you really want to jazz it up, you can mark each of your words by taking a swig of your drink, or doing five burpees, or donating to your favorite charity or political candidate. Whatever gets you tipsy, in shape, or motivated, get the bingo cards here. It's fight night!

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GZERO Media, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Eurasia Group, today hosted its second virtual town hall on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine and the challenges of its distribution.

The panel was moderated by New York Times science and health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli and featured Gates Foundation's Deputy Director of Vaccines & Human Immunobiology, Lynda Stuart; Eurasia Group's Rohitesh Dhawan, Managing Director of Energy, Climate & Resources; Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman; and Gayle E. Smith, the president & CEO of ONE Campaign and former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Watch the full video above.

How was it that after decades of infighting, European nations were able to come together so quickly on an economic pandemic relief package? "I'm tempted to say because of COVID-19…because the triggering factor for the crisis was not the banks…not the bad behavior of some policy-makers somewhere in the region. It was actually this teeny tiny little virus..." European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde tells Ian Bremmer how a microscopic virus spurred the greatest show of international unity in years.


Watch the episode: Christine Lagarde, Leading Europe's United Economic Pandemic Response

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:

First of all, what is going on in the Caucuses?

Well, it's a war. You'd never know it from following American press, because of course, we're only talking about Trump and the elections. But Armenia and Azerbaijan are actively fighting each other. Over 100 are dead so far, including civilians. There is a lot of fog of war misinformation going on. Reuters piece that seems that there are some mercenaries, including Syrian mercenaries on the ground that were in Azerbaijan that were paid for by Turkey. The Armenians, as of today, are claiming that Turkish fighter jet downed an Armenian war plane. Ankara is saying, no, they didn't. The Iranians are being accused of transferring military equipment to Armenia. The Iranians are saying, no, they didn't.

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