Manufacturers Want to Quit China for Vietnam. They’re Finding It Impossible.

Vo Quoc Thanh and Nguyen The Do, engineers from Omnidex Manufacturing Vietnam, monitor production at a partner factory in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam.

Vo Quoc Thanh and Nguyen The Do, engineers from Omnidex Manufacturing Vietnam, monitor production at a partner factory in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam.

With the U.S. and China tangled in a nasty trade fight, this should be Vietnam’s time to shine. Instead, it is becoming increasingly clear that it will be years, if ever, before this Southeast Asian nation and other aspiring manufacturing destinations are ready to replace China as the world’s factory floor.

Donald Trump’s ‘real threat’ of Vietnam tariffs sends ripples of anxiety through Southeast Asian nation

The US President Donald Trump is attempting to force Vietnam to reduce its trade surplus with America and has threatened tariffs. Photo: AP

The US President Donald Trump is attempting to force Vietnam to reduce its trade surplus with America and has threatened tariffs. Photo: AP

The US president is keen to narrow America’s trade deficit and stop illegal transshipments from China looking to avoid trade war tariffs. Vietnamese authorities are cracking down on illicit tariff dodging behaviour, but exporters worry that a ‘small batch could ruin it for everyone’

Trump Ordered New Chinese Tariffs Over Objections of Advisers

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President acted after China wouldn’t commit to farm purchases at Shanghai talks

By Vivian Salama and Josh Zumbrun

Aug. 4, 2019 6:02 am ET

WASHINGTON—President Trump overruled advisers to ramp up tariffs on China after a heated exchange in which he insisted levies were the best way to make Beijing comply with U.S. demands, according to people familiar with the matter.

Barring a break in the impasse, the U.S. is now poised to impose 10% tariffs on roughly $300 billion in Chinese imports that aren’t currently taxed starting Sept. 1. Battle lines are hardening in Beijing as well—raising prospects that a deal may be put off until after the U.S. presidential election next year.

Mr. Trump, who has speculated the Chinese may be waiting to negotiate with a possible Democratic successor, says a strong U.S. economy gives Washington the upper hand if the dispute drags on. But advisers argued that a new round of tariffs could hurt the U.S. economy and further strain relations with China.

Trade talks in Shanghai last week were brief and unproductive. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were in China for a little over 24 hours, and their itinerary consisted of a dinner the night they arrived and a meeting that lasted about three hours Wednesday.

Neither team was accompanied by large staffs needed for detailed technical discussions, as in past rounds. The talks last week involved fewer than 10 people, including interpreters.

After returning, the trade negotiators and other top advisers congregated early Thursday afternoon in the Oval Office to brief Mr. Trump on the talks. Messrs. Lighthizer and Mnuchin conveyed that they didn’t yield the kind of results that Mr. Trump had intended, the people said.

Mr. Trump, who had a re-election rally scheduled in Ohio later that day, wanted to be able to assure farmers—who have been hardest hit by the trade fight as China scaled back purchases of U.S. corn, soybeans and pork—that he had at least secured concrete commitments from the Chinese that they would boost their purchases of U.S. agricultural exports.

But to his frustration, Messrs. Lighthizer and Mnuchin couldn’t give him any guarantees.

“Tariffs,” Mr. Trump said to his team, one of the people said. Those present included his national-security adviser John Bolton, top economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow, China adviser Peter Navarro and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

All of them, save Mr. Navarro, a China hawk, adamantly objected to the tariffs, the people said. That spurred a debate lasting nearly two hours, one of the people said. Beijing insists that tariffs must be dropped in return for concessions demanded by the U.S.

The president said his patience had worn thin and stood by his argument that tariffs were the best form of leverage, the person said.

His advisers eventually conceded, one of these people said, and then helped the president draft the tweet announcing an extension of tariffs to essentially all Chinese imports.

The decision followed weeks of advice from some of Mr. Trump’s advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, to put China talks on the back burner, according to the people and a former administration official.

The president’s advisers urged Mr. Trump to focus on other trade pacts, including the pending deal with Canada and Mexico, which still needs congressional approval, as well as talks with Japan, which in recent weeks have gained momentum, these people said.

Proponents for standing pat on China argue that any deal with Beijing is likely to be attacked as too soft by Democrats in Congress, and that an escalation in tariffs will eventually start to become a drag on the economy, the people said.

The stock market is one of Mr. Trump’s primary gauges of economic confidence and until late last week Wall Street had been riding high. Mr. Trump’s resolve to impose the tariffs may have been further strengthened by the Federal Reserve’s decision just one day earlier to cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point, which could give an already strong U.S. economy extra fizz.

“The economic effects (of the trade dispute), at least in President Trump’s eyes, haven’t been massive on the U.S. economy and he’s got what he thinks the Fed is lowering rates to accommodate his trade policy,” said Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Perhaps that emboldened him to do more tariffs.”

The response, however, was swift. Stocks plunged Thursday and Friday on prospects of a prolonged trade fight, and business groups warned about the impact on consumer spending.

Consumer products that had been spared in previous rounds—including smartphones, apparel, toys and videogames—will now be subject to tariffs.

The U.S.-China Business Council, which represents companies that do business in China, expressed fears about the impact on its members. China doesn’t import enough from the U.S. to impose an equivalent levy in tariffs, so the likely retaliation could include “increased regulatory scrutiny, delays in licenses and approvals, and discrimination against U.S. companies in government procurement tenders,” president Craig Allen said.

China has its own pressures on the domestic front. The Trump administration’s decision to proceed with arms sales to Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland one day, plays into the hands of those Chinese government leaders who are distrustful of Mr. Trump.

Last week, just before the trade talks got under way, China’s Foreign Ministry accused Washington of being behind mass antigovernment protests in Hong Kong, with a spokeswoman calling them “the work of the U.S.”

“Within Chinese government circles, there are strong voices against any deal with the Trump administration,“ said Myron Brilliant, head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “With each escalation by either government, the two sides grow further apart and prospects of a comprehensive high-standard agreement more remote.”

Despite the deterioration in talks, Mr. Trump signaled confidence in the U.S. position from his New Jersey golf resort on Saturday. “Things are going along very well with China,” he said on Twitter.

“They are paying us Tens of Billions of Dollars, made possible by their monetary devaluations and pumping in massive amounts of cash to keep their system going. So far our consumer is paying nothing—and no inflation. No help from Fed!”

—William Mauldin contributed to this article.

Best Places to Travel with Friends in the US

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If you’re wondering where to travel with friends, the US is filled with exciting places to explore with your best buds on a girls weekend, bachelor party, or birthday getaway. Are you looking for somewhere to get in touch with nature, party all night, or just get out of town while staying in budget? Traveling with friends is a great way have adventure, deepen bonds, and explore awesome places across the United States. So, gather up your travel buddies and get going!

What Political Unrest Means for Global Biz Travel in the Coming Year

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While contentious social and political issues unfold, many companies go into wait-and-see mode, holding back on travel spending until a resolution emerges. The lack of demand often affects pricing.

In the coming year, travel pricing is set to slow globally, even as the overall economy remains healthy, according to data released by the Global Business Travel Association(GBTA) and travel management company CWT. Europe, in particular, could see a slowdown due to tensions surrounding Brexit, as well as labor unrest, climate change protests, and regional terrorism.

41 Expert Tips For Female Solo Travelers, From Female Solo Travelers

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All the single ladies, put your hands up! We now live in an age where women can do anything men can do—including travel around the globe solo. But that doesn’t mean our needs are necessarily the same as men’s while we’re out on the road. From staying safe to accessing essential feminine items to avoiding unwanted company, our global team of female travel experts share their top pieces of advice for globetrotting women everywhere. Plus, if you have your own tips for keeping travel fun and safe for solo women, please add them in the comments!

Trump says China is paying his tariffs, but U.S. companies keep getting the bill

Gantry cranes stand next to containers at Tan Cang-Hiep Phuoc Port in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on June 27. Vietnam has benefited from a surge in exports and foreign investment as businesses look to scale back their China operations or relocate to avoid higher U.S. tariffs. (Yen Duong/Bloomberg News)

Gantry cranes stand next to containers at Tan Cang-Hiep Phuoc Port in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on June 27. Vietnam has benefited from a surge in exports and foreign investment as businesses look to scale back their China operations or relocate to avoid higher U.S. tariffs. (Yen Duong/Bloomberg News)

American businesses are coping with President Trump’s extended tariff war with China by swallowing smaller profits, implementing selective price increases and shifting their Chinese orders to factories in countries such as Vietnam or Mexico.

Those strategies have helped blunt the domestic fallout from Trump’s favored trade tool. But tariff burdens that once appeared bearable — either because the financial cost was modest or they were considered a temporary negotiating tool — now are testing businesses’ ability to adjust.

Travel Advisors See U.S. Domestic Tourism Evolving Amid Inbound Woes

Domestic leisure travel among Americans appears to be getting stronger, helping to offset declining growth in international visitors to the U.S. It’s also growing in new directions, with glamping and cultural tours especially popular.

Domestic leisure travel among Americans appears to be getting stronger, helping to offset declining growth in international visitors to the U.S. It’s also growing in new directions, with glamping and cultural tours especially popular.

As growth in inbound tourism to the U.S. declines, Americans are picking up the slack, with travel advisors noting an uptick in U.S. clients seeking domestic experiences —including some that rival overseas journeys in complexity and depth.

UPS adds Sunday service; forms commercial drone unit and files to expand operations

Company extends pick-up hours for next-day ground deliveries, adds global service for low-priced e-commerce shipments, expands “My Choice” U.S. platform in sweeping change to portfolio

Company extends pick-up hours for next-day ground deliveries, adds global service for low-priced e-commerce shipments, expands “My Choice” U.S. platform in sweeping change to portfolio

UPS Inc. (NYSE:UPS) late Tuesday rolled out extensive changes to its product portfolio that include ground pick-ups and deliveries on Sundays for the first time in its history, a new commercial drone unit and an application with the federal government to expand U.S. drone operations, extended hours for U.S. shippers tendering packages for next-day ground delivery, and a global product designed to support the rapid growth of lower-priced items moving in cross border e-commerce.

US shippers seek balance on truck capacity seesaw

Truck capacity is overflowing, but not all shippers are chasing the cheapest rates. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

Truck capacity is overflowing, but not all shippers are chasing the cheapest rates. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

The “mother of all truck capacity shortages” came to an end last year, and shippers in 2019 are awash in trucks — outside, perhaps, of a smattering of temporary, regional shortages that may accompany the shifting produce season as it moves across the United States. But shippers haven’t forgotten the pain caused by that capacity shortage, or the rate hikes that accompanied it.

ILWU, APM agree to automated LA terminal training

With a deal reached on training, APM Terminals’ request for a construction permit needed to install electrical recharging equipment at Pier 400 in Los Angeles can move forward to the final stage of approval. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

With a deal reached on training, APM Terminals’ request for a construction permit needed to install electrical recharging equipment at Pier 400 in Los Angeles can move forward to the final stage of approval. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com.

International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 13 and APM Terminals reached a tentative agreement Wednesday on a training program that will prepare longshore mechanics to maintain and repair the automated cargo-handling equipment the terminal operator will deploy at its Los Angeles facility.