China March exports unexpectedly fall but Q1 trade surplus with USA soars

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Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has infuriated China by refusing to endorse the one-China framework while offering to sign a US free-trade deal and buy more advanced American arms. Indeed, the latest soundbites from Beijing will probably send the White House into fits of exasperation after China's trade figures were announced.

Tesla's Chief Executive Elon Musk has railed against an unequal playing field in China and wants to retain full ownership over a manufacturing facility the company is in talks to build there.

Xi pledged on Tuesday China will protect the intellectual property of foreign firms, saying he hoped foreign countries did the same.

"We have a big pipeline to acquire more US companies ... but right now, we will watch a little bit", Yuan Ning, president of China Construction America, said at a US-China business summit.

The Chinese regime has ratcheted up its aggressive rhetoric toward Taiwan in recent weeks, culminating in an announcement on April 12 that the Chinese military will hold live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Straits in less than a week, on April 18. Xi's appearance in fatigues in a photogenic military setting brought to mind his much-publicized review of land forces last summer in sand-swept Inner Mongolia, with clouds of dust creating a battlefield-like atmosphere.

CMC is the overall high command of the 2-million strong Chinese military. It's uncertain if China will follow through, but if it does if it does the biggest losers could be German carmakers such as BMW and Mercedes Benz that build their SUVs in the US, in places like Spartanburg, S.C., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. It now features an airfield, hangars, radars, and air-defense weapons, all quite near the Philippines.

Fears of a trade war have been rumbling since last month.

The just-completed naval drills off Hainan underscored China's growing capabilities in defending its maritime interests and territorial claims, particularly in the disputed South China Sea.

According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, China now enrols more than 40 percent of its students in tertiary education, half the USA percentage, but a staggering rise from 0.1 percent in the 1970s.

Allan Chau, the general manager of a Chinese factory making precision metal parts for USA customers, is still calling it a "proposed" trade war, but that hasn't stopped him from planning for the worst.

"Only by standing up for ourselves can we end the abuse, restore our prosperity and reclaim our economic independence", he said.

In response, the USA has conducted numerous "freedom of navigation operation" (FONOP) patrols in the area.

The event also served as an opportunity for the nation's soldiers to venerate Xi in person.

When farmer Liu Cong first started planting soybeans in northeastern China's Heilongjiang province, he lamented how low prices were, thanks largely to competition from American exports.

China shut down 128,000 websites that contained obscene and other "harmful" information past year, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing government data.

Among them is Gerald Howarth, former United Kingdom minister for worldwide security strategy.

"This is a very important action by China".

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