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  1. Weiler's Concrete Pumping's 130 Telebelt (aka loop belt or conveyor truck) has 126' of reach & 16'8" working height. It can move 360 yds/hr of stone, sand, concrete & more to the exact spot you need it! What's your #vocation? #Autocar #AlwaysUp #ROI itsallabouttheuptime Always Up - Autocar Trucks .
  2. The Trade Deal Will Intensify The U.S.-China Rivalry Forbes / December 15, 2019 The U.S. and China have reached a trade deal that is meant to de-escalate the trade war. It commits China to buy $40 billion of American agricultural products annually, tighten measures for protecting American intellectual property, and stop forcing American companies to transfer their technology when doing business in China. In return, the U.S. agrees to halt the planned tariffs on $156 billion of Chinese goods that is due to take effect on December 15, and it will also cut the tariffs from 15% to 7.5% on $120 billion of Chinese goods that was imposed in September. However, the 25% tariff on $250 billion of Chinese imports imposed in March 2018 stays. Predictably President Trump boasted that this is a big deal that will lead to the “opening of China’s markets.” As positive as this partial trade deal is, it is not what Trump claims. If anything, it will intensify the U.S.-China rivalry. The fundamental issues that ruptured the U.S.-China trade relationship have not been resolved. America’s dispute with China is more than just America’s trade deficit even though Trump sees it as proof that America is the loser in trading with China. The real U.S.-China rivalry is that of a head-to-head struggle between an incumbent superpower and a rising challenger. In the U.S., there is a rare bipartisan consensus that the structure of the Chinese economy and how it is managed is at the heart of the problem, which puts foreigner companies at a disadvantage when competing with Chinese companies. The real objective of Trump’s trade war is to force China to dismantle its state sector and conform to the standards and practice of a market economy as defined by the West. China has indeed proved to be very skillful in manipulating the multilateral system that governs global trade, bending its rules when and where it is advantageous to do so. China is now snapping at the heel of the U.S. in closing the technology gap. According to UN data (UNIDO Competitive Industrial Performance Database, the proportions of total export considered to be of medium and high tech are about the same between the U.S. and China. Furthermore, Xi Jinping’s signature “Make in China 2025” program is designed to propel China forward to becoming a world beating technology leader in ten key sectors in the next few years. And central to China’s stupendous economic and technological advances in the last four decades is its ability to combine market forces with state intervention; which is the very economic structure that the U.S. wants China to abandon. Not surprisingly, China has absolutely no intention to do so. In this context, the announced trade deal is merely an admission that a trade war against China through higher tariffs has not and will not work. Both sides will now refocus their efforts in achieving their strategic goals by other means. The U.S. will certainly toughen its scrutiny of Chinese investment in its tech sector, and putting more Chinese companies under surveillance, and there will be more aggressive actions in blocking China’s attempts in acquiring advance technology knowhow. The sanctions against Huawei and its role in the rollout of 5G is only a foretaste of what is to come. Beijing, on the other hand, will surely push ahead with the Make in China 2025 program regardless of what the U.S. may do, while preparing for a worst case scenario of decoupling from the U.S. economy over the longer term. The global economy should be prepared for many destabilizing storms to come. The U.S.-China rivalry is made more acute because of an asymmetry in time horizon. The U.S. fears that time is not on their side, which is reflected in its bipartisan consensus that stronger actions are urgently needed to prevent a further weakening of America’s position relative to China. Beijing, on the other hand, believes that time is on its side, and is confident that it can out-last America’s belligerence. It will work gradually to reduce its dependence on the U.S. market and American technology knowhow while building new networks of alliances outside of the U.S. This asymmetry in time horizon thus reduces incentives on both sides to compromise. Now that there is a trade deal, the U.S.-China rivalry is set to intensify.
  3. Trump’s China Deal Flirts With the Curse of a Phase One and Done Bloomberg / December 14, 2019 President Donald Trump unveiled an interim deal with China on Friday that will avoid further escalation of a trade war that for almost two years has hung over the world’s largest economies and thus almost any country or company doing business with them. But that agreement is already facing a question from political allies, foes, analysts and business groups alike that is likely to define the deal’s place in economic history: What if, after all those tariffs and all that drama, that’s it? What if it’s cursed to be Phase One and Done? Trump and his aides have promised that the partial deal the president first announced on Oct. 11 will be followed by others. That’s because while the initial accord may see China increase its agricultural purchases to as much as $50 billion annually and make commitments on currency and intellectual property enforcement, it includes nothing on more potent structural issues such as the vast web of subsidies that has fueled the global rise of many Chinese companies. While Trump has insisted that as many as two further phases will follow, many analysts are skeptical much more progress can be made going into an election year in the U.S. That could allow the Chinese to run out the clock. “After the ups and downs over the past two years that led to a partial deal, I’m not sure both countries have the stomach to get back into these issues with any urgency,” said Wendy Cutler, a veteran trade negotiator now at the Asia Society Policy Institute. “A phase one trade deal is a welcome step. But it looks like this deal will fall way short of the long-term fundamental changes in China’s trade regime that the administration laid out a couple of years ago.” That Trump appears ready to offer tariff relief in return has agitated China hawks in Washington who fear that after daring to take on Beijing in a way no prior president has with his tariffs, Trump is giving up leverage that might extract future concessions. Marco Rubio, who has staked his claim as the most vocal Republican China hawk in the Senate, on Thursday urged the White House in a tweet to not surrender tariff leverage. Beyond China’s sub­sidies for do­mes­tic firms, he said, those included its historical practice of forcing foreign companies to hand over technological know-how as a cost of market entry and the blocks facing U.S. firms wanting to do business in some sectors in China. .@WhiteHouse should consider the risk that a near-term deal with #China would give away the tariff leverage needed for a broader agreement on the issues that matter the most such as sub­sidies to do­mes­tic firms,forced tech transfers & blocking U.S. firms access to key sectors — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 12, 2019 All of those concerns remain priorities for a U.S. business community that has lobbied heavily against the Trump administration’s tariffs and questioned the efficacy of its tactics, even as it has endorsed its diagnosis of the problems that need to be addressed in China. In reactions sent out by business groups after Bloomberg and then others reported that Trump had signed off on the deal during a meeting with aides Thursday, the common theme was that there had to be more to come. “While this would be an important step, more work would remain to fully address longstanding concerns regarding China’s unfair trade policies and practices,” Jason Oxman, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, said in a statement. Business groups are also eager to see Trump work multilaterally with allies to take on China, arguing that should both add pressure and deliver more substantive and longer-lasting changes. The U.S. has been engaged with the European Union and Japan in drafting potential rules to tackle industrial subsidies. Those talks have stalled, however, in part because of a lack of interest from the Trump administration, making some skeptical the new rules will ever amount to anything. Adding to the mistrust among historical allies like the EU is the U.S. administration’s move to hobble the World Trade Organization’s dispute resolution process by blocking the appointment of new judges to its appellate body. Around the world many other countries remain concerned by what they see as Trump’s efforts to dismantle a multilateral system the U.S. spent decades building. Trump’s aides have characterized the moves at the WTO as part of an effort to modernize a moribund institution that has failed to address what they see as China’s systematic cheating of the system since it joined the WTO in 2001. And there are signs some American business leaders are willing to play along with that as well as Trump’s broader trade disruptions. Jamie Dimon, the chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and outgoing chairman of the Business Roundtable, which represents U.S. CEOs, expressed doubts this week that a deal with China would go beyond an initial phase one agreement. But he told reporters in Washington that Trump was right to take on China. Moreover, after the administration delivered an update of Nafta in the form of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement now headed for approval in Congress, notched a partial deal with Japan and freshened up an existing pact with South Korea, many in business were willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on trade, he said. “If we accomplish those things it’s going to be important for the global economy for decades to come,” Dimon said. Then again, he also warned it was unclear whether Trump would succeed in remaking America’s trade relationships with China and others for the better. “We don’t know yet because it’s not done yet,” Dimon said. “We’ll know in five years.”
  4. Alan Tonelson, Marketwatch / December 14, 2019 OK, let’s assume that something deserving the name “U.S.-China trade deal” has been reached — even one dubbed “Phase One” or “preliminary.” Deep doubts would remain justified about whether it can possibly serve American interests. For example, where’s even an English-language version? There’s nothing new about such agreements coming out in both English and Chinese, raising thorny questions about ensuring that key terms in both languages are commonly understood — on top of all the towering issues raised by China’s long record of flouting official commitments it’s made. But if something worth announcing officially on both sides has actually been produced, why is the most detailed description so far this statement from the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office? No specifics Why does this statement contain plenty of specifics about U.S. tariff reductions (except for the actual dates by which American levies on imports from China will be cut) but no specifics about China’s own pledges? In that vein, no useful accounts have been released of what China will actually buy from the United States (though it’s interesting that President Donald Trump has included manufactures on the list — not simply agricultural products and other commodities), and by when the Chinese will buy these goods. Special bonus — shortly after noon, the President said he “thinks” China will hit $50 billion in U.S. agriculture imports. Over what time period? Heaven only knows. Don’t forget — such import increases will be the most easily described and verifiable aspects of any agreement. Structural reforms So maybe since these terms are still being left so vague, it shouldn’t be surprising that there’s absolutely nothing from the administration so far about “structural reforms and other changes to China’s economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange.” Even the Trump administration has viewed these issues — which lie at the heart of the intertwined U.S.-China technology and national security rivalries, as well as of the purely economic rivalry — as so challenging to address diplomatically that rapid progress can’t be made. Why else would Trump have settled for now for seeking a shorter term, interim agreement? If genuine breakthroughs have been made that will strengthen and safeguard and enrich Americans, terrific. But if so, what’s the point of couching them in generalities? And if not, what’s the point in claiming major progress? Dispute resolution Also completely, and crucially, omitted are any indications of what’s actually meant by “a strong dispute resolution system that ensures prompt implementation and enforcement.” In particular, if the United States doesn’t insist on the last word in judging Chinese compliance and meting out punishment when agreement terms are broken, then this deal will work no better on behalf of U.S.-based producers (employers and employees alike) than previous arrangements under the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that pleased only the corporate Offshoring Lobby, its hired guns in Washington, D.C., and the Mainstream Media journalists who have long parroted its talking points. So if the United States is not recognized as sole judge, jury, and court of appeals when dealing with Chinese compliance, history teaches that will be the case that the agreement literally will be worthless. Politics are puzzling The politics of this U.S. announcement are puzzling in the extreme as well. China’s economy obviously has taken a much greater trade war hit than America’s — of course mainly because it’s so much more trade-dependent. Beijing’s dictators are struggling to contain unrest in Hong Kong. The new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which will replace NAFTA, will offset some of the China-related losses suffered by the agriculture-heavy states so critical to Trump’s re-election hopes. The polls show unmistakably that the president is winning the impeachment battle in the court of public opinion. And even before the congressional Democrats’ efforts to remove him from office began bogging down, their party’s slate of presidential candidates had started looking so weak to so many in Democratic ranks that a gaggle of newcomers jumped into the primary campaign on stunningly short notice. In short, this is no time for Trump to reach any deal with China — whatever phase it’s called. In fact, it’s the time for the president to keep the pressure on (because whatever weakens the Chinese economy ipso facto benefits the United States these days). And since a deal that promotes real U.S. interests remains impossible to reach because of verification obstacles, it’s also time for Trump to start signaling to American business that major tariffs on China are here to stay for the time being, and may even increase down the road. That’s one way to eliminate any uncertainty employers are feeling about doing business with China that will increase the odds of building a new, improved bilateral relationship — not restore its epically failed predecessor. Reasons to hope The only reasons for optimism on the U.S.-China trade front right now? Just two that I can identify, but they’re hardly trivial. First, for all the reasons cited above, the supposed Phase One deal is clearly still so tentative and, frankly, so flimsy, that it’s likely to fall apart sooner rather than later. Second, U.S.-China decoupling will continue — precisely because the closely related technology and national security gulf dividing the two countries can’t be bridged diplomatically, and because even previously gullible U.S.-owned companies in numerous industries will now be thinking twice about exposing themselves, or exposing themselves further, to the whims of China’s utterly lawless and unreliable government.
  5. Ford recalls more than 500,000 Super Duty pickups for risk of interior fire Michael Martinez, Automotive News / December 13, 2019 Ford on Friday issued a recall for more than half a million 2017-19 Super Duty SuperCrew pickups in the U.S. with a faulty seat belt pretensioner that could spark the interior carpet and cause a fire if the vehicle crashes. Ford claims it is aware of one report of a fire in the U.S. related to this issue, although it's not aware of any accidents or injuries. Ford said 490,574 pickups are affected in the U.S. and federal territories, while 56,112 are in Canada and 852 are in Mexico. The vehicles were built at its Kentucky Truck Plant from Oct. 8, 2015, to Oct. 29, 2019. "As needed, dealers will apply foil tape to the carpet and carpet insulation and modify the sound deadener on the back side of the B-pillar trim panel," Ford said.
  6. Wall Street Journal / December 11, 2019 U.S. regulators decided to allow Boeing’s 737 MAX jet to keep flying after its first fatal crash last fall even when their own analysis indicated it could become one of the most accident-prone airliners in decades without design changes. An internal Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) internal analysis dated November 2018, released during a House committee hearing Wednesday, projected that without design changes, a 737 Max aircraft could be expected to crash every two to three years, i.e. the FAA predicted there would be more than 15 additional fatal 737 Max crashes over its lifetime. However, FAA regulators, decided to let the plane continue flying.............
  7. Roger Gilroy, Transport Topics / December 11, 2019 U.S. Class 8 retail sales in November fell 12.9% year-over-year, landing at the lowest point in almost two years, WardsAuto.com reported. Sales were 18,545 compared with 21,302 a year earlier. It was the lowest volume since February 2018, when sales hit 16,687. Only Paccar’s two brands gained ground last month; all other manufacturers posted declines in sales compared with the 2018 period. For the first 11 months, sales hit 253,266, climbing 12.8% higher than the 224,508 in the 2018 period. Daimler’s Freightliner brand remained the market leader, selling 7,046 trucks, but sales were down 16.4% compared with a year earlier. Freightliner earned a 38% market share. Daimler’s Western Star brand sold 493 trucks, down 3.3% from a year earlier. It had a 2.7% share — giving DTNA a total market share of 40.7%. The two Paccar brands, Kenworth and Peterbilt, combined for sales of 7,014, or about 500 behind DTNA. Kenworth sold 3,508 trucks, a 10.1% improvement over the 2018 period and good enough to earn an 18.9% market share. Peterbilt sold 3,506, up 5.1% from the 2018 period. It also earned an 18.9% market share. [37.8% market share for Paccar] International saw sales drop 42% to 1,273 in the month, which is the beginning of Navistar’s fiscal year. International posted a 6.9% share. Volvo Group’s Mack brand saw sales fall 18.3% compared with a year earlier to 1,185, good for a 6.4% share. Volvo posted sales of 1,528, down 30.5% from a year earlier. It earned an 8.2% share. The November totals also included Class 8 sales by Hino Motors Manufacturing U.S.A. of 2 trucks, giving it 8 sales for the year. Hino is relatively new to the Class 8 market. Ward’s also reported combined sales in Class 4 through Class 7 dropped 7.4% in November to 16,753 compared with 18,101 a year earlier.
  8. UAW workers ratify FCA labor deal by broad margin Michael Martinez, Automotive News / December 11, 2019 DETROIT -- Fiat Chrysler's roughly 47,000 hourly UAW workers overwhelmingly ratified a new four-year labor contract, ending the most contentious set of Detroit 3 negotiations in years. Roughly 71 percent of workers voted in favor of the deal, the union said Wednesday. "Every full-time production employee currently at FCA will be at top rate by the end of this four-year agreement," Cindy Estrada, UAW Vice President and Director of the UAW FCA Department, said in a statement. "All temporary workers now have a defined pathway to full time and top pay as well." The FCA contract passed with a much higher margin than similar pacts at General Motors and Ford Motor Co. Roughly 54 percent of GM workers passed the deal following a 40-day strike, while the Ford contract passed with 56 percent of workers voting in favor. “We wouldn’t be the company we are today without the contributions of our UAW-represented workforce, and this contract recognizes and rewards their dedication in helping us achieve that success,” Mark Stewart, COO for FCA North America, said in a statement. The Detroit 3 negotiations took 88 days to complete, longer than the last round in 2015, when talks with all three automakers wrapped up by Thanksgiving. Tense times Tempers flared from the outset. The union, angry over GM's plans to shutter four U.S. assembly plants, picked GM as its target company, calling a national strike 24 hours after the previous contract expired after accusing GM bargainers of failing to respond to their demands until the 11th hour. The strike was marked by strongly worded public accusations from both sides that the other was playing games and failing to respond to proposals in a timely manner. After a tentative agreement was reached, a vocal minority of workers grumbled that the gains were not significant enough to warrant the 40 days spent on picket lines. The union bargained in the midst of a crisis, as federal prosecutors moved ahead with a years-long corruption probe that, over the course of the talks, resulted in new charges and the resignation of former President Gary Jones and former Region 5 Director Vance Pearson. Shortly after UAW negotiations began with FCA, GM filed a lawsuit accusing its crosstown rival of a conspiracy to run up GM's labor costs in a bid to force a merger. Despite the obstacles, the union was able to negotiate deals that preserved some of the nation's best health care benefits; accelerated the path to the top wage and benefits package for newer workers; and created a more defined path for temporary workers to achieve permanent status. Labor cost gap The FCA deal boosts profit-sharing payouts by 13 percent and gives less-experienced hourly workers the same health care coverage as veteran employees. Full-time workers will get a $9,000 bonus check — the same as Ford workers — while temporary employees get $3,500. The agreement calls for FCA to create 7,900 jobs with $9 billion in U.S. manufacturing investments through 2023. The figures include 6,500 jobs announced under a $4.5 billion plan to open a second assembly plant in Detroit and expand other plants in the area. The UAW valued the deal at an extra $29,500 over four years for an average production worker, matching the economic gains in the Ford contract. Like the GM and Ford deals, FCA workers will get 4 percent bonuses this year and in 2021 and 3 percent wage increases in 2020 and 2022. The planned investments include $7.8 billion for assembly plants, $615 million for powertrain plants and $495 million for stamping plants. Among the new commitments are $450 million for the Indiana Transmission Plant II to create up to 1,040 jobs and $160 million for Toledo North Assembly to create up to 100 jobs making plug-in hybrid Jeep Wranglers. Colin Lightbody, a former FCA negotiator who now heads a consulting company, said the FCA contract will close the labor cost gap with its domestic rivals. FCA has had an $8-an-hour edge over GM over the past four years, compared with a $5.35 disadvantage for Chrysler in 2006. "The elements that I thought that they would try to get more in alignment with GM and Ford were their health care, where the in-progression employees had a different plan design than the traditional employees. They brought those in line," Lightbody said. "On the profit-sharing formula, they tweaked it bit to bring it a little closer to what the GM and Ford formula is paying."
  9. I don’t do social media. I don’t have “too much spare time” on my hands. If I was on Facebook, Twitter, WeChat and other social media, I’d never get any work done.
  10. https://www.chicagobusiness.com/awards/andrew-taitz
  11. Wall Street Journal / December 10, 2019 Exceptions under federal firearms law allowed the murderer in the attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola to legally buy a handgun in the U.S. despite his Saudi citizenship. Mohammed Alshamrani was able to buy the 9mm Glock 45 because he had obtained a state hunting license, which is one of the exceptions to a law that normally prohibits people admitted to the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa from possessing or owning a firearm, the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Jacksonville, Florida, said Tuesday. State officials in Florida are "now" calling such exceptions “loopholes” that must be closed to help prevent similar incidents in the future. Alshamrani killed three people Friday in the attack at NAS Pensacola before he was shot dead by a local sheriff’s deputy.
  12. Reuters / December 10, 2019 The Pentagon announced on Tuesday it was halting operational training of all Saudi Arabian military personnel in the United States until further notice. The decision will have far-reaching impacts on visiting Saudi personnel, including grounding more than 300 Saudi Arabian military aviation students. The Pentagon added the move would also affect infantry personnel and all other Saudi training, other than classroom training. The safety standdown only applies to the 850 visiting students from Saudi Arabia. A defense official said the shooting “suggested that there could be a particular improvement with that(nation’s population.” The U.S. Air Force said its groundings of Saudi aviation students also applied to additional U.S. bases. “We feel it is best to keep the Royal Saudi Air Force students off the flying schedule,” an Air Force spokeswoman said.
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