Monday Minute – 9/14/2015

Auto-Parts Dispute Taps the Brakes on Pacific Trade Deal


A fight over how cars are assembled is pitting North America’s auto industry against Japan’s in a dispute now holding up a major trade agreement spanning the Pacific.

The spat over which cars should be eligible for duty-free trade surfaced during high-level talks in late July that failed to wrap up the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership. The auto impasse is the most recent complication to finishing the TPP talks, along with dairy trade and the intellectual-property protections afforded to biologic drugs, as well as the election season in Canada and the approaching campaigns in the U.S. and Japan.

Japanese automakers rely to a larger degree than their North American peers on components produced in other countries, such as China and Thailand, outside of the proposed TPP bloc. They don’t want the agreement to disrupt that supply chain.

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China Stocks Pull Asian Markets Lower

By CHAO DENG, The Wall Street Journal

China shares finished lower in tumultuous trading Monday, as weak data on Chinese factory output pulled prices down despite apparent efforts by Beijing to prop them up.

The Shanghai Composite Index finished off 2.7%, paring losses in the last half hour after being down as much as 4.7% during the afternoon session. Markets elsewhere were mixed; the Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.6%, led lower by shares of cellphone carriers, following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s comments on reducing phone bills.

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Government to Notify 20% Import Duty on Some Steel Products

By REUTERS, The Economic Times

NEW DELHI: The government will soon impose a 20 percent import tax on some hot-rolled steel products for 200 days, two sources said on Monday, as the government investigates a threat to domestic companies from rising supplies from China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

The products together accounted for more than half of the 5.5 million tonnes of steel imported last fiscal year into India, the world’s only major growing market at a time when top consumer and seller China is slowing.

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Canadian Crunch: Export Figures Down, But Data Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

By JOHN HAGEMAN, Grand Forks Herald

The Canadian dollar remains significantly weaker than its U.S. counterpart, which may be affecting exports from northern states like North Dakota and Minnesota.

The value of exports to Canada from the north-central region of the U.S., which includes the Dakotas and Minnesota and stretches to Missouri and Ohio, were down roughly 10 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same time period in 2014. North Dakota saw its export values drop almost 24 percent to $1.5 billion, compared to a 17 percent slide in Minnesota, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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