Matt Hartwell comments

Posted in: Japan, EU sign massive trade deal to eliminate nearly all tariffs See in context

Trump is a GENIUS. He makes enemies out of EU nations, thus creating a pathway for his friend Abe. Win-win. Trump gets to put America first and Abe gets support from EU.

Trump is a fool BUT there is certainly an argument to be made that his rhetoric forces the E.U to live up to its potential on defense and international affairs, including trade. That was always one of the arguments the U.K had against the E.U. That the E.U always put forward a posture of weakness, when it came to international affairs, with Russia and China in particular. It was hilarious when the E.U asked PM Turnball of Australia how he "coped" with China's influence and trade tactics etc. Like the E.U is simply incapable of putting forward the strength of 500 million Europeans and what is the richest region in the world, still.

Arguably with a strengthened European defense and trade relations, the U.S stands to gain a far better ally once everybody has kissed and made up, which they will once Trump goes. The fundamental history and relations between Europe and America are a million times more important and stronger than one man.

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Posted in: Japan, EU sign massive trade deal to eliminate nearly all tariffs See in context

So Trump will be saying to Japan if you can do this with Europe, why can't you do it with the U.S? You can guarantee that will be the argument now and rightly so and so hopefully there can be a U.S/Japan agreement as well.

Still, this is good for Japan and Europe. I wonder what the arrangement on cars will be.

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Posted in: Western armies are losing their high-tech edge See in context

Its enemies, meanwhile – whether Russia, China or smaller states like Iran and North Korea – have dedicated almost all their forces to fighting in their own backyards. If war should come, that would put nearby U.S. and allied forces at a significant disadvantage, quite possibly outgunned entirely.

Which makes the case for urgency in re-arming E.U members of NATO even more acute. And not just re-arm but more funding for R&D and more cooperation among allies. All America's allies should be hitting the 2% NATO target even if they are not in NATO. The pivot to the Asia Pacific needs to be completed and we need to see Europeans overwhelming responsible for European defense.

Also this article doesn't talk about the role of Western terrorists in future conflicts if attacked on their own soil. People should realize that its not just Islamic extremists that can and will go down the terrorist route if needed.

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Posted in: Japan, U.S. plan 1st round of trade talks in late July in Washington See in context

Thank you Matt, among my imports, I have imported by air from Australia for the US military, assorted vegetables, fruit juice and cheese, from new Zealand 'Turner and Growers' tomatoes and strawberries. After having to destroy some products upon entry into Japan, I gave up.

Japan has in place, requirements with low tolerances, some times called hidden trade barriers, that make imports difficult and expensive for entry into Japan, thus driving up the cost.

I have also destroyed surface shipments of roasted coffee beans from the US. The Japanese governments tolerance for ascorbic acid is so low, the shipments have expired upon arrival. No doubt the Japanese government wants green coffee beans to be roasted in Japan.

Will be interesting to see how Japan reacts with what is a tentative step towards the elimination of tariffs on cars at the global level since the agreement between Trump and German car makers, one which Merkel said she could support the idea of "lowering tariffs", not eliminating them, but just maybe it could go that far.

Japan should welcome it, even it means more Fords and BMW's on Japanese roads. Japanese car manufacturers are very strong. Australia is wall to wall Toyota, Mazda and increasingly Kia etc. Thailand is wall to wall Toyota, Isuzu and some Ford. Providing Japanese companies can keep coming to the market with a steady stream of new tech and I say this they are pushing Toyota hybrids in Australia atm, then I see no reason for Japan to reject this move towards lowering or eliminating car tariffs. They have a big reputation advantage and since manufacturing in places like Thailand a cost advantage as well that is not going to be easy for anyone to overcome, including China.

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Posted in: Japan, U.S. plan 1st round of trade talks in late July in Washington See in context

So, basically the definition of protectionism.

Japan exercises an hypocrisy that is no different to many countries. The ideas of free and fair trade is a step in the right direction in a world where everyone implemented it evenly, but clearly that doesn't happen when indirect impediments are put in the way, as Ray has mentioned and you have countries like China that see hacking and industrial espionage as completely routine.

Two of the latest examples to add to a very long list of state sponsored Chinese hacking.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-06/chinese-hackers-infilitrate-anu-it-systems/9951210

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2018/07/133_251708.html

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: After talks with Pompeo, N Korea accuses U.S. of 'gangster-like' demands See in context

Kim asked for a meeting and got it. Kim asked for military exercises to stop and got it.

Meaningless. U.S/South Korea exercises can start again tomorrow.

And you can be Japan will be pushing for it.

Nobody won anything. Its status quo all over again, but now, with far less patience for North Korea's nonsense.

They had an opportunity and now they have lost it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: After talks with Pompeo, N Korea accuses U.S. of 'gangster-like' demands See in context

Back to square one. Was worth a shot.

Japan knows what it needs to do and should get busy doing it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: At least 50 dead as record rains prompt mass evacuations in southwest Japan See in context

Terrible. Japan needs relief. I hope the Australian government has offered to help although im not sure what they could do. Certainly HMAS Canberra & Adelaide can move a lot of people.

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Posted in: Japan, U.S. plan 1st round of trade talks in late July in Washington See in context

Regardless of TPP, Australia also has a separate bilateral agreement with Japan, that could be the envy of many countries.

The answer is pretty simple. Australia does not have the capacity to kill Japans manufactured goods in Japans domestic market. We don't make cars. We don't make anything of consequence and therefore we are no threat to Japan Inc. America on the other hand is a different story.

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Posted in: Japan completes domestic procedures to ratify TPP without U.S. See in context

Good move, but I want to hear more about getting new members, particularly from South America.

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Posted in: At least 50 dead, about 50 missing as torrential rains lash Japan See in context

Very sad to hear this news. Reminds me of the flooding in Queensland a couple years ago.

Thoughts and prayers to all the victims of the storm.

I wish the very best to the SDF and civilians trying to help people in need.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: James Woods suggests his agent dropped him over politics See in context

He should work overseas. I could see him playing a particularly nasty type in one of those outback Australian horror movies we do here ;) Or maybe on the side of the law. That would be awesome actually.

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Posted in: Chinese state media slams Trump's 'gang of hoodlums' See in context

And they'll just find it in Vietnam or Indonesia or somewhere else, shifting part of the trade imbalance to other countries.

Firstly whether its a deficit or surplus depends on the countries we are talking about. Secondly, that would be a fine outcome. That gives the U.S more clout with countries that are more likely to play reasonably fair. It gives the U.S more leverage in forming bilateral trade agreements. It also allows the U.S to influence their behavior to be more fair in trade. Vietnam and Indonesia are also not global strategic threats, which China is according to their recent defense review. Again, I come back to the point. Why give $500 billion a year to a country that the Pentagon considers a potentially massive threat? Do you disagree with that conclusion? If not, what is your answer? Its not like that conclusion doesn't have a level of bipartisan support either.

It obviously isn't well designed based on any such calculations since as I said above, those companies can freely move to Vietnam, etc. This is just hamfisted nonsense of a policy.

Answered. I agree, I dont think its particularly elegant and its not the path I would choose even though I see the need for the U.S to take action. But thats Trump. He is not grand, details oriented strategic planner and he also can't dictate what companies in the U.S do, unlike China, which suggests that micro management is probably wasted effort anyway.

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Posted in: Chinese state media slams Trump's 'gang of hoodlums' See in context

Except that would be the American corps and business which took themselves out of the country and into Asia. They didn't give a damn about the worker, like cattle fodder.

When U.S Inc starts complaining about the impacts of these tariffs, that is a card that Trump should play.

He should remind people that many of the same U.S companies that moved offshore and cut U.S workers are the same winging now.

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Posted in: Chinese state media slams Trump's 'gang of hoodlums' See in context

This is a part of the article worth highlighting - Chinese companies aren't even the ones going to be paying the majority of the tariffs, foreign and particularly American ones are.

Which when maintained forces those companies to look outside of China for what they need.

That is part of the calculation on this issue. Its as much designed to force the hand of U.S companies as it is designed to punish Chinese ones....

Its all very, VERY early days. The long term consequences of this might take years to play out and I don't think it ends with Trumps presidency either. Sooner or later the U.S will realize you can't keep sending $500 billion in sales to what is suppose to be your primary strategic competitor forever. That really is the definition of stupid.

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Posted in: Chinese state media slams Trump's 'gang of hoodlums' See in context

Ill be fine. Not so much for the farmers.

The breadth of China's retaliation in terms of products is more restricted with as you say, U.S farmers taking the brunt of it which should enable the U.S to target that perhaps in terms of some short term aid?

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Posted in: Chinese state media slams Trump's 'gang of hoodlums' See in context

Interesting to see China interfere in the currency markets, it was bolting, and shut down the stock exchange, again. It was getting pummeled. Mind you at just $5 trillion compared to $25 trillion market cap there is not so much risk for China on that side.

At the end of this I hope the U.S is on the path to shrinking its deficit with China. Specifically there is an opportunity for the U.S to poach Taiwanese expertise as I have said elsewhere in developing a consumer electronics manufacturing industry in the U.S, both due to this trade war, uncertainty going forward after and the fact that Taiwan might be invaded. It could help to radically shrink the deficit in trade and along with more low end apparel and footwear purchases from the rest of Asia and even South America perhaps, instead of China, could see the U.S make genuine headway.

https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/visualize/tree_map/hs92/export/chn/usa/show/2016/

If the U.S can see the green and the teal shrink significantly over the medium term-long term, that would be a very solid step in the right direction. If they can build some high end, highly automated manufacturing plants for tech that would be an opportunity to not just shrink the deficit with China but perhaps actually export that sort of product to the rest of the world, like Europe, in which they ran a $150 billion deficit in 2017.

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c0003.html

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Posted in: Trump trade war to become reality as China tariffs hit See in context

Was reading recently that many Taiwanese companies that have invested a lot of money in factories on the mainland are starting to get nervous and some are considering pulling out back to Taiwan or elsewhere.

Given that Taiwan is subject to a constant threat of military attack now by China combined with this trade war, I think its going to make more and more sense for Taiwanese companies to follow in the footsteps of Foxconn with its massive new factory in Wisconsin. I know there is controversy over the subsidies to secure that factory but it could be a sign of things to come.

It would make a lot of sense, long term, for flagship Taiwanese electronics manufacturers to make their products in the United States IF they can secure the components outside of China, which while I imagine will be difficult at first, may become easier over time.

If you look at this graph - https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/chn/

A lot of those technology exports from China involve Taiwanese companies and Taiwanese products in the supply chain. It would seem an ideal time for the United States to offer those companies, in conjunction with various U.S states an opportunity to setup shop in the U.S.

Who knows, maybe one day in future the rest of the West will be buying more tech products manufactured in the U.S, rather than China, which would cut the U.S deficit it runs with China AND perhaps Europe.

That would be great outcome for the West in general.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese helicopter carrier to tour South China Sea, Indian Ocean for two months See in context

Haven't they forgotten that Japan is under the U.S. military's virtual occupation with so many bases planted across Japan, some of which are no other than forward bases for attack? 

The U.S is not as strong in comparison to other countries as it was. Their clear and overwhelming advantage has dissipated, in nuclear with both China and Russia, but more importantly, in conventional arms with China.

Technologically, China is rapidly approaching the U.S level and they have the financial clout to build a comparative force in numbers, in terms of their navy

So we must now move from relying on the U.S to a true alliance where the burden of deterrence is more evenly shared across all the services - army, navy, air force and in future, perhaps even space. Every ally should be building up their military but in a way that compliments their partners to the maximum extent possible using the 2% of defense spending on GNP as a minimum benchmark imo.

If you take Australia for example. It is widely recognized we do not have capability to defend ourselves so our equipment purchases are designed to compliment the U.S and work with U.S systems, ie AEGIS etc.

This is the new reality that we all need to accept. The U.S cannot do it alone anymore.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Trump pressed aides on Venezuela invasion, U.S. official says See in context

Surely the Americans have learned by now that regime change is a vast waste of blood and treasure with results that are very often just as bad, if not worse. America needs to focus on securing the liberal democratic free world, east and west, in conjunction with their allies, not wasting vast resources on a country that sooner or later will find its footing. Probably the best approach is to try and lift the economies around Venezuela to give them richer neighbors to trade with.

If the Venezuelans don't get their act together fast their vast oil deposits will become more and more redundant as electric takes over.

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Posted in: Outcry as Japanese winemaking couple ordered to leave France See in context

Dumb. Why on earth would the French have a problem with a Japanese couple making french wine? For one it seems highly likely to increase the popularity of French wine in Japan.

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Posted in: Japanese helicopter carrier to tour South China Sea, Indian Ocean for two months See in context

Hey !! Bring you ship down to New Zealand. WE would love you come and visit. Take this note as my invitation to come and visit.

Speaking of N.Z. About time you pulled your weight and lifted your defense spending from 1.1%.

Same goes for Japan. Still only 0.9%. That needs to lift as well.

Australia? Bang on 2.0% atm.

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Posted in: Japanese helicopter carrier to tour South China Sea, Indian Ocean for two months See in context

No excuse. Japan has big trade with China and is sending warships to enforce the rules. The UK, Australia and Canada should be sending warships too. Waiting for a year to send them is too late. Shame on them. Only Japan and USA stand up too bully.

A lot of countries, as others have pointed out, have been sending ships into the SCS, but only the U.S has ventured into that 12 nautical mile limit. Personally I fail to see the point in sailing close to those islands, but I do see the point in patrolling the SCS more broadly in terms of trade and shipping.

There are a lot of measures that can be taken by the West and Japan to guarantee their future economic prosperity and security, but in terms of my own thoughts I would be here all day if I was to outline them all.

Suffice to say that for now I hope the trade war between the U.S and China happens. We need it to happen because we need U.S companies to move away from Chinese exports to fulfill domestic demand. They must start looking further afield and I hope their is a solid move in that direction when the dust has settled. Trump should look to back away from anything too nasty with Europe, Japan and Canada. That is not the main game in town. I also hope that Trump makes strong progress in getting the laggards in NATO to lift their defense spending and Europe pushes forward in ensuring their own security. More E.U based defense projects and more joint E.U/U.S/Japan research on defense is needed as an urgent priority.

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Posted in: Japanese helicopter carrier to tour South China Sea, Indian Ocean for two months See in context

Other nations like UK, Australia, Korea, Canada just sit on their hands.

Because trade. The Achilles heal of Australia's foreign policy regarding China. Not much can be done about it in the short term, but longer term is more promising. I personally wish we could do more.

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Posted in: China presses Europe for anti-U.S. alliance on trade See in context

@Matt Hartwell, Trump started the war by insulting all of the USA's allies and friends. They could not do nothing when confrontation the Trump Tariffs. We caught Trumps "friendly fire" not the other way around. No self respecting nation will do nothing when attacked!

I don't like Trumps rhetoric on trade against the E.U, Japan, Canada, Mexico and other allies and don't support the tariffs he has imposed on those countries up to this point. Don't like the fact he left the Paris treaty either. Iran I am not sure about, but I do support him on NATO defense spending and the lack of defense spending in much of Europe.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Posted in: China presses Europe for anti-U.S. alliance on trade See in context

Europe shares nothing in common with China and will not use the excuse of Trump to abandon liberal democracy - the absence of which dooms China in the medium term. Instead, the EU has wisely decided to simply wait out the Trump era, which will likely end as soon as the next elections in November.

The same approach Australia is taking. Fortunately we have dodged the friendly fire up to this point.

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Posted in: Japanese tourist dies climbing Australia's Uluru monolith See in context

Sorry to hear this. I would never climb it. Do they realize its cursed? No, im not joking either.

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Posted in: China presses Europe for anti-U.S. alliance on trade See in context

State Councillor Wang Yi, have proposed an alliance between the two economic powers and offered to open more of the Chinese market in a gesture of goodwill.

An alliance with the worlds largest state backed threat to global freedom? Forget it.

Oh now you want to open your markets? Sure you do.

"China now feels it can try to split off the European Union in so many areas, on trade, on human rights," 

Conjecture and little evidence as far as I can see except on Iran and Paris Treaty, but everyone is against the U.S on the latter.

Both the U.S & the E.U have become incredibly weak when it comes to voicing concern about human rights in China and their desires on Taiwan. Europe is nowhere to be seen on that issue.

"China and European countries are natural partners,"

LOL Since when? Are you kidding? More natural than the U.S? Fantasy

"They firmly believe that free trade is a powerful engine for global economic growth."

China does not believe in free trade. They talk a lot about it...

"We agree with almost all the complaints the U.S. has against China, it's just we don't agree with how the United States is handling it,"

A common sense conclusion backed up by about 30 or 40 years of experience at this point.

They say China's decision in May to lower tariffs on imported cars will make little difference because imports make up such a small part of the market. China's plans to move rapidly to electric vehicles mean that any new benefits it offers traditional European carmakers will be fleeting.

"Whenever the train has left the station we are allowed to enter the platform," a Beijing-based European executive said.

Exactly.

However, China's offer at the upcoming summit to open up reflects Beijing's concern that it is set to face tighter EU controls, and regulators are also blocking Chinese takeover attempts in the United States.

The European Union is seeking to pass legislation to allow greater scrutiny of foreign investments.

LONGGG overdue.

"We don't know if this offer to open up is genuine yet," a third EU diplomat said. "It's unlikely to mark a systemic change."

Why would China, which has clearly stated that they want to achieve global dominance in the industries of the future allow the E.U to strengthen its finances, its general economic outlook and competitiveness, knowing full well that the likelihood of combined E.U/U.S global giants forming in the future, competing directly with China, is incredibly high. China needs Europe's consumer market so they don't want to see Europe tank, but that's as far as the warm, fuzzy feeling goes.

The United States should tone down their rhetoric against Europe, Japan and Canada on trade and look for one or two key wins. Enough to provide Trump with a boost back home. They should maintain the rage on NATO defense spending however and focus their attention on China and pretty much solely on China when it comes to any pending trade war.

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Posted in: Mattis reassures Japan over N Korea talks; cites abductees See in context

Interesting that comments promoting the idea that Japan should modern its military are deleted by the moderators on this site despite being of no offensive nature whatsoever. What is the excuse?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: China protests to Japanese media over report on Taiwan See in context

Have to say the Taiwanese are brave and resilient and deserve to be supported by the West rather than abandoned which they largely have been. Greater economic and people to people ties at the very least. Maybe that is changing in the U.S.

The spokesman said Wu was "left speechless" to see that China, which does not tolerate free speech and press freedom at home, seeks to impinge on those same freedoms in Taiwan and Japan.

Of all people, I would expect the minister to be far less shocked. That is textbook Chinese diplomacy these days. They think their rules apply outside of China. I've got news for them....

Japan should think about implementing its own foreign interference laws like the ones past in Australia today to counter Chinese influence on its democracy, of which press freedom is a part.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

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