Humberto Ramirez Urdaneta Roberson // The Caribbean Is Now Grass! - EntornoInteligente

Entornointeligente.com / By Ambassador Curtis Ward

 

During his presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump left little doubt about his disdain for China’s emerging global economic power. He not only framed this in the context of U.S. bilateral trade disadvantages with China, but also what he perceived as China overtaking the U.S. in global economic and trade dominance. Trump promised his supporters he would act against China to reverse this trend. Having now acted to keep those promises, questions arise as to what extent president Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, aimed primarily at China, will have unintended consequences.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

enlasgradas.com
Trump’s tariffs, if applied across the board as announced initially, could spark a trade war with U.S.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

elnewyorktimes.com
allies more so than with China.

Ironically, China is not the top steel exporter to the United States, trailing U.S.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

dolarve.com
allies Canada, Brazil, Japan, and South Korea. Thus China could choose to respond with modest measures and watch other mostly affected U.S. trade partners respond more aggressively with robust counter measures against selected U.S. goods and services. This could be the beginning of a trade war and a downward spiral for the global economy.

The economic repercussions of a global trade war would be devastating for the fragile economies of the Caribbean and other regions – Caribbean collateral damage.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

dolarve.com

Tillerson

Donald Trump’s use of a shotgun approach to U.S.-China trade though seemingly amateurish should not be surprising.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

dolarve.com
My recent article, “Cuba and Venezuela in Trump’s Cross-Hairs,” (The Ward Post – (02/03/2018), focused primarily on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s main objective of isolating Venezuela during his trip to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

dolarve.com
However, my reference to his categorization of China in LAC as “predatory” should have raised a red flag among hemispheric leaders.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

la-papaya.com
Tillerson warned governments of the region against cozying up to China. He characterized China as offering “an attractive path to development” which “in reality, often involves trading short-term gains for long-term dependency.”

Tillerson noted that “China’s offer always comes at a price” which he described as “state-led investments, carried out by imported Chinese labor, onerous loans, and unsustainable debts.” He said the China model extracts precious resources to feed its economy.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

hrdevelopers305.com
In reference to China (and Russia), Tillerson warned that Latin America does not need “new imperial powers that seek only to benefit their people.”

In an effort to disparage China’s role in LAC, Tillerson suggested, perhaps inadvertently, that the region having grown accustomed to the rapacious characteristics of old imperial powers should be satisfied with that relationship.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

eltubazotv.com
Tillerson offered no public commitment that the old imperial powers, the U.S. included, would offer an alternative to China’s economic overtures in the region. Reality is, the region is starved of foreign direct investments from old imperial powers and Chinese investors are filling the void.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

elmercuriodechile.com
I had advanced the idea that China’s economic and geopolitical engagement with LAC was likely to be on the agendas for Tillerson’s meetings with leaders in the countries visited.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

elnewherald.com
I haven’t seen any public statement either way, but actions speak louder than words, and sometimes silence can be even louder.

In another article, “Hopes, Fears, and Challenges for 2018 – the Global Landscape,” (The Ward Post – 12/29/2017), I noted that the increased influence of China and Russia in the Western Hemisphere will raise geopolitical tensions between the U.S.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

mulher-mulher.com
and countries in the region that are getting too close to China. I made the point, there was increasing fears the U.S. under Trump will act in its own perceived interests regardless of the implications for affected states or the international community at large.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

fame-people.com
I also noted Trump’s actions would lead to further erosion of trust in the U.S.’s ability to act responsible to further LAC interests.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

www.entornointeligente.com
These tensions are now being manifested in reckless policies and actions emanating from the Trump administration.

Aluminum

In January 2018, invoking the protection of U.S.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

plomovision.com
national security, Trump imposed tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels from China. He used a section of the Trade Act (section 201), not used by any U.S. president since 2002 to justify his action. Importantly, by increasing the prices of two Chinese products that are manufactured with significant aluminum input, Trumps tariffs on these manufactures will decrease global demand for aluminum.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

rebeliometro.com
At a minimum, by depressing the sales of these targeted Chinese products in the large U.S. market, China will have a lesser incentive for sourcing alumina from countries such as Jamaica. Now with an across-the-board 10% tariff on aluminum the impact will be far greater.

We already know that steel and aluminum exporters Canada, Mexico, and Brazil are talking tough against Trump’s proposed tariffs if implemented as initially announced by the president.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

demasiadochevere.com
We expect their responses will be measured according to the respective effect on their exports. Canada and the European Union already have signaled they will retaliate, and it is unlikely other affected countries such as Germany, Japan, and South Korea will shrink from their responsibilities to protect their domestic industries.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

thewashington-post.com
However, not all countries negatively affected by increased U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum will be able to take effective counter-measures.

The impact on the aluminum market will have significant effect on Caribbean countries – Jamaica, Guyana, and Suriname as exporters of bauxite ore from which aluminum is made; and Jamaica, in particular, as a major exporter of alumina.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

xn--elmundodeespaa-2nb.com
The tariffs on China could change the dynamics for China’s investment in Jamaica’s alumina production and plans for future investment of as much as US $1 billion in aluminum production in Jamaica.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

revistaterminaldepasajeros.com
Guyana is on record as seeking to revive its dormant alumina production and looking to Chinese investors to move this forward.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

ultimasnoticiasve.com
Similarly, Suriname is looking for future increase in Chinese investment in its bauxite industry. Thanks to Donald Trump, the future outlook for bauxite and alumina production in the region may no longer be as optimistic.

To cite an old African proverb – “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” This means the weak get hurt in conflicts between the powerful.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

elnacionalweb.com
The Caribbean is now grass!

© 2018 Curtis A. Ward/The Ward Post

 

Editorial Note: This article was first published in The Ward Post with the title Trump’s Economic War on China – Caribbean Collateral Damage  and is reproduced here with the permission of the author.

Ambassador Curtis A.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

el-listindiario.com
Ward is a former ambassador of Jamaica to the United Nations, with two years of service on the UN Security Council.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

el-listindiario.com
He is an attorney at law and international consultant specializing in national and international security law and policy, counter-terrorism legal and operational capacity assessments and solutions, international sanctions, rule of law and governance (programme development and execution), geopolitical strategy analyses, international business transactions, and inter-governmental relations.

© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

economiavenezuela.com

 

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© Humberto José Ramírez

© Humberto José Ramírez Urdaneta

Tags: Trump

Con información de: RJR News

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