Will the Arrest of a Chinese Telecom Executive Derail Trade Talks?

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

The Chinese government is very mad that an executive at its homegrown telecommunications giant, Huawei, is being held in Canada at the request of the United States for her alleged role in helping the company evade sanctions around doing business with Iran.

How mad? We’re talking Summon-The-Ambassador mad.

Dang, that’s pretty mad. But that said, Chinese media has taken pains to not link the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, to the ongoing trade talks between Beijing and the Trump administration. This is significant because, as one expert observer told Reuters, “if you don’t see any discussions in Chinese media, that’s the intention of the (Chinese) government.”

The United States is doing its part to delink the stories, too. Trump administration officials were on television this weekend calling the Huawei arrest a separate “criminal justice matter.”

But it remains to be seen if the case will bleed into the talks. In China, for instance, outrage over the arrest has boiled into calls for a boycott of Apple products and some companies even announcing plans to use nothing but Huawei products. And no one really believes the arrest, which happened the same day President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping sat down for trade discussions in Argentina, aren’t linked.

In the United States, meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is pushing legislation that would ban Huawei from doing business in America. That would be, uh, quite the escalation; because of its murky links to the Chinese government the company is already more-or-less banned from the U.S. government procurement market, and other countries (Australia, New Zealand, and now Japan) are following suit. If Sen. Rubio’s effort are somehow successful, it certainly would raise the bad blood between the two governments trying to resolve a major trade dispute. 

The Wall Street Journal notes both sides have reasons to want the talks to succeed. The shaky stock market is not going unnoticed at the White House, and the Chinese economy may be starting to stumble: “Customs data released on Saturday show an unexpected drop in growth of both Chinese exports and imports in November, portending weaker growth,” writes the Journal. A large Chinese government trade delegation was headed to Washington this week before Ms. Meng’s arrest was announced. It's unclear, the Journal reports, if they're still on their way. 

It will be interesting to see what the fallout will be. You know we’ll be keeping track!

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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