Individual Global Investor submits:Trade figures out of the United States and Canada today confirm that the global recovery is slowly moving forward. Looking at the trade of physical goods is one of the best measures of economic momentum. In my look at these figures last month, the story was of robust German trade in November.
While lawmakers in Washington and Beijing negotiate agreements over commercial and trade issues such as cybersecurity and intellectual property rights, state and local governments and businesses have been embracing trade with China.
BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Wednesday accused the United States of sowing discord between China and its neighbors after the Pentagon said Beijing is using espionage to fuel its military modernization, branding Washington the "real hacking empire".
Secretary John Bryson spent his last day in China in the financial capital of Shanghai. He began his day with a group of American business leaders based in China. The leaders, members of American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the U.S.-China Business Council, exchanged ideas and shared information about the opportunities and challenges of day to day business operations in China. As Secretary Bryson said to the group, our bilateral trade with China reached over $500 billion last year, with U.S. merchandise exports reaching $100 billion for the first time. However, with a trade deficit close to $300 billion, we still have a lot of work to do.The Secretary then gave remarks at a tourism event, highlighting the robust and growing travel of Chinese tourists to the United States. In his remarks, Secretary Bryson pointed out that "travel and tourism between our countries is crucial to building stronger cultural and economic ties. This generates greater understanding and friendship between our people. And yes, it also generates greater prosperity."
The big trade news of the day is that United Steelworkers union (USW) has filed a petition with the US government alleging that the Chinese government unfairly favors, through subsidies and other trade measures, its domestic manufacturers of "green" goods like solar panels and wind turbines. The petition was filed under a section of US trade law - Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 - that was once a strong protectionist weapon but has basically gone dormant since the advent of the World Trade Organization.
I hesitate to disagree with Paul Krugman about something like this, but I think today’s column on the US/China currency imbalance would benefit from adding in a distinction he doesn’t draw.
Look at Brad DeLong’s chart of how dropping the gold standard helped countries recover from the Great Depression: