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US and China clash at WTO, blame each other for trade crisis

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The United States and China clashed anew at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, accusing each other of undermining the multilateral trading system, according to texts of speeches at closed-door talks seen by Reuters.

U.S. Ambassador Dennis Shea also rejected a comment made by the European Union (EU) on Monday that Washington was at the “epicenter” of the crisis.

“The crisis is caused by the fundamental incompatibility of China’s trade-distorting, non-market economic regime with an open, transparent and predictable international trading system,” Shea said. “It is compounded by (WTO) members’ collective failure over many years to address this problem.”

Shea accused China of seeking to force technology transfer and “outright steal it when it sees fit” to become the top producer, particularly in strategic industries.

“China will subsidize and maintain excess capacity in multiple industries, forcing producers in other economies to shut down. China will dump its products on our markets, claiming that all is okay because our consumers pay a bit less,” he said.

“This is not acceptable”.

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Hu Yingzhi, deputy director general of the department of WTO affairs at China’s ministry of commerce, said “reckless actions” by the Trump administration were the root of the crisis.

“China absolutely refuses to be the scapegoat and excuse for unilateralism and protectionism,” he said.

But Hu said China hoped that in the follow-up to the summit between President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month, the two powers could “move in the same direction with mutual respect to contribute to the stability of world economic and trade environment”.

China and the United States agreed to a ceasefire in their trade war on Dec. 1 after their leaders’ high-stakes talks in Argentina, including no escalation of tariffs on Jan. 1.

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Trump will leave tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports at 10 percent at the beginning of the new year, agreeing to not raise them to 25 percent “at this time”, the White House said in a statement.

But U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said a week later that unless U.S.-China trade talks wrap up successfully by March 1, new tariffs would be imposed.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Mark Heinrich

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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George Conway annihilates Trump’s claim that Twitter censors him

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On Wednesday, following Trump's virtually incomprehensible rant on Fox Business about how Twitter is secretly stifling his content, conservative lawyer George Conway posted a scathing rebuke of his behavior:

https://twitter.com/gtconway3d/status/1143868020424617989?s=21

George Conway, the husband of Trump's former campaign manager and counselor Kellyanne Conway, has been a frequent and vocal critic of the president's behavior.

Republicans have increasingly scapegoated an imagined political conspiracy of social media companies for every problem that they have online, claiming that there is a plot to censor or "shadow ban" conservative content.

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This is how Florida Republicans plan to hand the election to Trump in 2020

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In 2018, voters in Florida passed Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to ex-felons. The measure passed 65 to 35 percent.

Now, Florida Governor and major Trump ally Ron DeSantis is expected to blunt the impact of the measure by approving a bill that would require ex-felons to have paid off all fees connected to their sentence before voting. That means Donald Trump might get a major boost in 2020, reports the Daily Beast.

SB 7066 requires ex-felons to pay off all financial obligations from their sentencing or get them excused by a judge.

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Dear NeverTrumpers: Please quit lecturing actual Democrats about how to win

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As I write this, we are just hours away from the first debate of the presidential primary season. It's hard to believe that four years have passed since the last round of primary debates. It feels like 40. But here we are, getting ready to embark on yet another presidential campaign featuring Donald Trump. Everyone on the planet has advice for the Democratic candidates about what they need to do to beat him. It may be the most annoying conversation in all of politics, and that's saying something.

The pundits are all dully blathering on about "lanes" again, extending the horse race metaphor to ridiculous lengths, as they did in the GOP primaries in 2016. So far they've declared the lanes to be "establishment," "insurgent," "youth," "black vote" and "working class." And yes, they are meaningless, since the person who wins the nomination will have to take up big parts of all these "lanes" and more. But it makes it easy for pundits and analysts to drone on endlessly about polling, despite the fact that there is very little chance this campaign will end up going the way they predict.

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