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Govt likely to impose restrictions on furniture imports

According to estimates, China’s export to India stood at around USD 1 billion. (Representative image)

The government is likely to impose restrictions on imports of furniture with a view to boost domestic manufacturing and reduce inbound shipments of non-essential items, an official said.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade has suggested to its commerce counterpart to put the restrictions.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade is expected to soon come out with a notification regarding this, the official said.

Putting a product in restricted category means an importer will require licence or permission for the inbound shipment.

India’s furniture imports stood at USD 603 million in 2018-19. Out of this, from China, it was USD 311 million in that financial year. The other main exporters to to India include Malaysia, Germany, Italy, and Singapore.

China is the largest exporter of different kind of furniture in the world.

According to estimates, China’s export to India stood at around USD 1 billion.

The position of India in the sector is weak as the sector is largely fragmented and is in the unorganised segment. The size of the domestic furniture industry is about USD 5 billion. The exports stood at around USD 1.5 billion.

The government earlier this month imposed similar restrictions on imports of refined palm oil, a move which would discourage the inbound shipment of the commodity from Malaysia.


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Coal Carrier Newbuild Starts Working for Joban Joint Power | Brazil Modal

Image Courtesy: NYK

Under a long-term contract, the 81,378 dwt vessel will be transporting coal mainly from overseas to generate electricity at the Nakoso Power Station in the city of Iwaki.

This power station makes use of efficient clean coal technology to support the recovery of Fukushima prefecture. The resource transportation provided by NYK will have a lower environmental impact because the vessel is equipped with a scrubber system, the company said.

With a gross tonnage of 43,400 tons, the newbuild features a length of 229 meters and a breadth of 32.26 meters.

Flying the flag of Panama, Sunshine Pride currently has a market value of USD 30.04 million, according to data provided by VesselsValue.


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Classic Reprint

Foreign areas and the adage that tribute follows trade is correct, then it is necessary for us to better understand the nature of the free trade that …


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Atlas Ocean Voyages Expands Fleet with Four More Ships | Brazil Modal

Illustration; Source: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license


The Luxe-Adventure cruise brand’s fleet will have a total of five ships by the end of 2023, with the first ship, World Navigator, launching in mid-2021.

The line’s World Navigator is currently under construction at WestSea Viana shipyard in Portugal and scheduled to launch in mid-2021.

The four new ships being acquired include World Traveller and World Seeker, which are scheduled to launch in 2022, and World Adventurer and World Discoverer are scheduled to launch in 2023.

“Luxe-Adventure is all-inclusive, small-ship journeys with luxurious amenities, delivering limitless adventures, and we look forward to welcoming guests aboard our ships for unexpected discoveries, foodie immersion, and unique, adrenaline rushes,” said Alberto Aliberti, President of Atlas Ocean Voyages.

“The four additions to our Luxe-Adventure fleet will allow us to significantly expand our collection of global adventures and offer more group and charter opportunities to meet growing demand,” said Brandon Townsley, Vice President of Sales and Trade Partnerships.

Atlas Ocean Voyages offers cruises to Antarctica, Baltic, Mediterranean, and Central and South America.


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China Poised to Buy More From U.S., at the Expense of U.S. Allies

For now, Chinese willingness to buy American goods could cover a wide range of industries.

The published text of last week’s agreement sets clear numerical targets for large increases in American exports to China in four categories: manufactured goods, agriculture, energy and services. But officials have described an unpublished annex that specifies large increases in a long list of subcategories.

Many of the subcategories highlight products that China currently imports from Europe and East Asia, in the case of manufactured goods, or Latin America, for many agricultural goods. The trade agreement does almost nothing to change China’s rules so as to increase its total purchases of foreign goods, instead leaving it to the Chinese government to reallocate orders toward American exporters.

Over the past quarter century, China has managed its trade so that it has fairly consistently sold about $4 worth of goods to the United States for each $1 of goods that it bought. China’s trade with Europe has been more balanced, in part because Europe has often been seen as a politically safer choice in Beijing given China’s often rocky relationship with the United States.

But in the last several months, China has concluded that its huge trade imbalance with the United States has become a source of danger and instability, people familiar with the bilateral relationship said in interviews while insisting on anonymity because of political sensitivities. The imbalance has produced demands from the United States for fundamental changes in the Chinese economy, like an end to many subsidies, that are unacceptable, they said.

Beijing’s conclusion, the people said, is that the trade imbalance with the United States must be narrowed sharply this year and next. While that narrowing may hurt the interests of companies and farmers in Europe and elsewhere, those affected by it should realize that they enjoyed extra sales to China over the past two years during the trade war with the United States, they added.

Beijing has already begun ramping up its broad interagency process for managing trade to make sure that American companies receive the extra orders promised under the agreement. In speeches, Chinese officials emphasized that they want to keep commitments to buy imports, although they have publicly glossed over the extent to which the Phase 1 agreement with the United States will divert trade away from other countries.


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Zeebrugge tugboat complied with IMO 2020 | Brazil Modal

To ensure that the vessel is complying with the IMO Tier III standard, the ABC engine’s exhaust fumes are subjected to a special after-treatment known as Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR).

Gert Van Den Steene, Manager Aftersales Department of Anglo Belgian Corporation, commented:

‘The project posed quite a challenge – in that we needed to set up and install a complete SCR system on board an existing tug with a complex engine room, while retaining the tug’s operational and practical functions.’

The decision to select Union Koala was based on the available space in the tugboat’s engine room for installing the SCR system. In addition, Union Koala is still in service in Zeebrugge’s port area: the Zeebrugge port authorities attach strong importance to sustainability and promote reducing vessels’ environmental footprint.

Boluda Towage Europe’s CEO Geert Vandecappelle, noted:

‘As a long-term partner of the Port of Zeebrugge, Boluda Towage Europe has committed itself through this project to the port authority’s environmental objectives. I am proud that through a joint effort, our technical department, Anglo Belgian Corporation and Flanders Ship Repair have brought this challenging project to a successful conclusion.’

When it comes to its sustainability policy, Boluda Towage Europe has not only limited itself to this initiative. The company also contributes to the reduction of shipping emissions in other European ports. At present, Boluda’s operational fleet includes five hybrid tugboats: RT Adriaan, RT Evolution, RT Emotion, Adventure and Experience. The company will be exploring further opportunities to increase sustainability in the near future.


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What is in the China trade deal?

This suggests the “transformative” phase one deal is more an uneasy ceasefire than an end to trade tensions. For many industries that import intermediate goods from China, the deal confirms that tariffs are now the “new normal.” That’s not welcome news to business leaders, of course. The Trump administration’s tariffs have caused significant damage to U.S. manufacturing. They have led to higher prices and fewer jobs, according to a recent Federal Reserve study.

The persistence of tariffs despite obvious economic costs has also been a source of consternation for Chinese analysts and policymakers, who anticipated that interest groups harmed by tariffs would constrain Trump in trade negotiations.

A strategic miscalculation for Beijing?

China has now committed to purchase an additional $200 billion in U.S. goods over the next two years, reduce various agriculture barriers, boost intellectual property protection, liberalize its exchange rate policy and financial services sector, and end forced technology transfers.

Chinese state-run media have been in damage control mode to spin these as “deepening reforms” – not concessions. In fact, the phase one deal contains little to address Beijing’s three core concerns: elimination of all tariffs, realistic trade purchase demands, and an agreement that balanced demands on both sides.

The signed deal also suggests that China’s strategy to “seek peace through war” by targeting vulnerable Republican districts with retaliatory tariffs appears to have achieved less than Beijing hoped. China, it seems, was overconfident in its ability to use U.S. interest group politics to leverage Beijing’s position in the trade talks.

How trade lobbying fell short

The U.S. business community — a powerful force in economic policymaking — has long acted as a ballast in the U.S.-China relationship. Over 150 business associations joined forces in opposition to the U.S. tariffs, and lobbying on trade issues skyrocketed after 2018. But if money talks in American politics, then why have U.S. businesses failed to constrain the president — even though many U.S. companies see the trade war as bad for business?

In their 2015 book, Helen Milner and Dustin Tingley explain that in “normal” trade politics, interest group lobbying and political pressure constrain the president because trade policies affect such a wide swath of business interests and voters — what political science calls “distributive politics.” And ideological divisions within the United States also act as a constraint on trade policy. Historically, Republicans opposed tariffs as unwanted government intervention while Democrats tended to be suspicious of trade liberalization.

Trump’s trade war with China turned these expectations on their heads. The president appears unconstrained by either interest groups or Congress. His administration pursued a strategy of compensating farmers while largely ignoring the needs of manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Here’s how this played out.

Was this a “Tragedy of the Commons”?

Powerful business groups lobbied hard against tariffs — perhaps too hard. The channels for access in Washington remain constant, but the flood of firms trying to squeeze through these channels may have crowded out one another. Research by In song Kim has shown that a typical trade bill might have just one lobby group’s attention. By contrast, more than 4,000 firms attempted to lobby the office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Congress on the section 301 tariffs.

The USTR exclusion process lets companies try to protect their own products from tariffs. Companies facing higher costs because of tariffs are incentivized to hire lobbyists to seek individual exclusions for their own products, and undermine the requests filed by competitors. This results in a classic tragedy of the commons — few companies succeeded in obtaining tariff exclusions, and the majority of U.S. firms will continue to pay the cost of high tariffs.

Ideological convergence over China

In addition, the traditional ideological division between Republicans and Democrats over trade retreated during the China trade war. Instead, a bipartisan consensus seemed to emerge, with U.S. policymakers seeing trade issues as part of the broader U.S.-China competition. When ideological divisions are high, different political beliefs about other countries’ motives and actions can constrain the president in setting foreign policy.

But Chinese foreign policy under Xi Jinping, including the Belt and Road Initiative, have only reinforced the narrative in Washington that China is becoming increasingly assertive. In multiple interviews I conducted with U.S. policymakers, the message was clear: Being tougher on China is the only bipartisan issue that everyone can agree on.

My co-authors and I have traced the roots of this backlash to the China trade shock — some U.S. communities were hit far harder by the surge in Chinese exports. Republican legislators from import-competing districts blame China for the economic dislocations in their districts. Trump’s China-bashing campaign seized upon the gap between Republican leaders and voters on support for free trade, and his election marked an end to decades of Republican orthodoxy on trade and China.

What happens now? This bipartisan consensus around confronting China is unlikely to fade, regardless of who wins the presidential election. Selective decoupling of the two economies will continue as the inevitable consequence of tariffs remaining in place. But as negotiators prepare for the phase two trade negotiations, distributive politics may become more salient as the burdens of tariffs push interest groups to better coordinate their lobbying efforts.

Jiakun Jack Zhang (@HanFeiTzu) is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Kansas, where he studies the political economy of trade and conflict in East Asia.


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Wärtsilä LNG tech supports next-gen cargo ships | Brazil Modal


The ships will be among the first-ever of their type to be powered by LNG fuel. Because of space restrictions on short-sea cargo ships, Wärtsilä developed a customised solution in close cooperation with the naval architect and the owners that allows the Wärtsilä LNGPac storage and supply system to be installed below deck without compromising the cargo hold space. Furthermore, the propulsion efficiency will be optimised as a result of Wärtsilä’s Opti Design capabilities that tailors the propeller and HP nozzle to specifically align with the vessel’s hull. These integrated technologies will be supported via Wärtsilä’s Data Collection Unit (WDCU) with iCloud based services and remote monitoring to optimise operability, fuel economy, and periodic maintenance.

“Our recognised leadership in LNG technologies is again shown with this order. Wärtsilä’s expertise in delivering fully integrated systems, and our emphasis on partnering with customers and other stakeholders to develop the optimal solution can lead to state-of-the-art vessels, as is we have here,” says Luuk Hijlkema, Account Manager, Sales, Wärtsilä Marine.

“We are very pleased to have these next-generation sustainable vessels. Minimising our environmental footprint has long been a focal point for us, and the reduction of emissions is a fundamental part of this. The new vessels running on LNG fit well into our continuous drive for greener operations,” comments Ad Toonen, Technical Director, Wijnne & Barends.

The four ships will each have a Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel main engine, a Wärtsilä gearbox, a Wärtsilä controlled pitch propeller (CPP) with HP nozzle, and a Wärtsilä LNGPac system. The equipment will be delivered to the yard during Q4 2020, and the first vessel is expected to be delivered during autumn 2021.

The 5800 DWT Lo-Lo (lift-on, lift-off) vessels will operate in the Baltic and North Seas and will be Finnish/Swedish Ice Class 1A classified. Six previously ordered vessels for Wijnne & Barends, which are already under construction, are also being fitted with Wärtsilä main engines and CPP propellers.


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Inner Mongolia sees foreign trade growth in 2019

HOHHOT, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) — The foreign trade of northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region rose to 109.57 billion yuan (about 15.97 billion U.S. dollars) in 2019, up 5.9 percent year on year, the Hohhot customs said Sunday.

The region’s exports totaled 37.68 billion yuan, down 0.4 percent year on year, while its imports increased 9.5 percent to about 71.89 billion yuan last year.

Inner Mongolia’s trade with its major trade partners maintained stable growth in 2019. Its trade with Mongolia and the United States grew 7.5 percent and 19.1 percent, respectively.

In 2019, the region’s trade with countries along the Belt and Road reached 71.3 billion yuan. So far, Inner Mongolia has trade exchange with 62 countries along the Belt and Road. Its trade with these countries totaled 356.62 billion yuan over the past six years.


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Port of Prince Rupert achieves record year | Brazil Modal


Supporting the overall positive trend was strong performance at DP World’s Fairview Container Terminal with over 1.2 million TEUs at an increase of 17% over 2018, the addition of propane volume through AltaGas’ Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal, and growth in coal handled at Ridley Terminal where cargo levels were up 18% over the previous year. Northland Cruise Terminal also saw a year-over-year increase in passenger volumes of 35%, totalling over 12,400 visitors to Prince Rupert through cruise travel.

“The Port of Prince Rupert’s consistent record-breaking annual volumes confirms the Port’s growing role in Canadian trade,” said Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority. “The Port of Prince Rupert has a reputation for offering strategic advantages to shippers. The 2019 volumes illustrate the growing market demand for the Prince Rupert gateway and further validates our plans for growth and expansion over the next several years.”

PRPA’s latest economic impact study released in 2019 revealed that port-related growth has resulted in the Port of Prince Rupert handling approximately $50 billion in trade value annually and supports an estimated 3,600 direct supply-chain jobs in northern BC, $310 million in annual wages, and $125.5 million in annual government revenue.

In 2019, several infrastructure projects supporting growth and diversification at the Port of Prince Rupert were announced, including the Ridley Island Export Logistics Park, the Zanardi Bridge and Causeway Project, and the Metlakatla Import Logistics Park – all of which are supported by the Government of Canada’s $153.7 million investment through its National Trade Corridors Fund. Moreover, construction commenced on PRPA’s Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor. The 5.5-kilometre corridor will provide a physical platform for two new rail sidings and a private two-lane haul road between Fairview Container Terminal and Ridley Island.

An anticipated $2 billion in capital expansion projects starting in 2020 will support further cargo growth, including DP World’s Fairview Terminal expansion project that will bring the terminal’s capacity up to 1.8 million TEUs by 2022; the Vopak Pacific Terminal project, which is currently undergoing its environmental assessment and expects to make a final investment decision in 2020; as well as Pembina’s Prince Rupert Export Terminal, which is currently under construction and anticipates being operational in late 2020.


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