On the surface, the US seems to have a major upper hand in its trade war with China. Simply put, they export a lot more to the US than we do to China, which means that they have more to lose than we. However, looking closer at the imposition of the US’ attest tariffs, a significant weak spot emerges. That weak spot is that the US has become overly reliant on some very niche but important Chinese exports. Mot of these are things people have never heard of, like carbonate esters and fluorine salts, both used for electric car batteries. Nonetheless though, they are very important, and 297 such imports were recently exempted from the US tariffs.

FINSUM: Barite (for oil and gas exploration) and Ibuprofen, are other crucial imports. This is one of the pressure points where China could simply cutoff supply and the US would be in a difficult position.


The special counsel investigation that started as an investigation into the Trump administration’s connections to Russia, but has blossomed into an all-encompassing dragnet, has been quite quiet of late. However, the FT reported today that Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen has been cooperating with Mueller and his team, particularly on the topic of Russian interference. According to Cohen’s lawyer, his client has provided “critical information” to the special counsel regarding Russia.

FINSUM: It is hard to know how whether the information he passed along was valuable, but it could be a hint that there is another bombshell about to hit headlines.


President Trump has just ordered $200 bn of further tariffs to be applied to Chinese goods. The Chinese have responded strongly, vowing to retaliate to the measures. The Chinese government said “We have been stressing that talks need to happen on the basis of parity, equality and good faith … What the US has done shows no sincerity and good faith at all”. The Chinese says they will impose tariffs on $110 bn of US goods, or about 85% of all US imports to the country.

FINSUM: These tariffs come just before the US and China were set to hold another round of trade talks. We have no idea how those are progressing, but this is really going to anger the Chinese.

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