Trump Doesn’t Fear Trade War Because of Canada’s ‘Tremendous Surplus’

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Trump’s response to questions about whether he feared a trade war with Canada after his new taxes on lumber imports was, “Nope. Not at all.”

The reason, Trump said, was, “They have a tremendous surplus with the United States. Whenever they have a surplus, I have no fear.”

He also told reporters, “They’ve outsmarted our politicians for many years, and you people understand that.”

Canada and the U.S. charge their forestry companies differently for the trees they cut down. In the U.S. companies compete and bid for trees. In Canada, the provincial governments charges fees to companies which happen to be lower than the market price U.S. companies pay. American companies complain Canada’s system is an unfair subsidy.

The tariffs are expected to add around $1200 to the price of new homes since taxes are always passed on to consumers, although lumber prices have already started to move up in expectation of an increase in cost.

Analysts expect that Canada may fire back by taxing American imports to Canada.

Trump Agrees Not to Terminate NAFTA

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After phone calls with Trudeau and Nieto, the White House said that Trump “Agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries.”

Trump also wrote in a statement, “It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up to date through renegotiation. It is an honor to deal with both President Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Trudeau, and I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”

During the campaign trail and until very recently, Trump made strong statements against NAFTA and in favor of possibly ending the treaty.

Ivanka Booed

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The first daughter, invited to participate on the panel of a women’s summit in Berlin received groans and hisses as she stated that her father was a “tremendous champion of enabling women and families.”

Afterward, Ivanka commented, “It’s fine. I’m used to it,” and said that it was a matter of “politics.”

Back to the Moon? Trump’s Statement Rouses Spaceheads

moon mission
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When President Donald Trump mentioned “other worlds” in his speech to a join Congress this week, the space community started buzzing.

“American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream,” said Trump at the end of his speech.

According to PBS NewsHour Science Correspondent Miles O’brian a manned mission could take place in 2019, as “all of a sudden there is wide agreement in the space community [the moon] might be the next step.” The mission may take the form of “learning how to live there on a sustained basis” — ie, a manned encampment.

A traditional barrier to space missions has been the large cost. NASA’s budget is around 19 billion, and the Army’s budget for space is around $40 billion, and analysts are considering ways these two organizations could borrow from each other in a force multiplier relationship, making it possible to make a moon mission with reduced costs to the country.

The private sector is also increasingly interested in the moon. SpaceX also is continuing to push toward commercial voyages. Elon Musk’s company announced a tourist trip for two people around the moon before.

Image: Foster + Partners/ESA

Comey Firing: Conflicting Messages

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In the wake of Trump’s firing of the former FBI director for what Trump called “not doing a good job,” conflicting public messages have come out in favor of and against James Comey.

Testimony by acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe (who was until 3 days ago deputy director) in front of Senate Intelligence Committee members included his defending Comey as a man of integrity who has broad support in the FBI to this day. Others also came out in defence of Comey’s reputation in the face of White House allegations.

On Facebook at least a dozen FBI agents changed their profile photos of or including James Comey. a gesture usually reserved for slain colleagues.

Trump: Historic Travel Expenses

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The new president has so far racked up a travel bill of $20m.

The rate, accumulated over Trump’s first 100 days, if continued would cost $294 million after 4 years, or over half a billion after 8.

One of the top destinations for the president is his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which he calls the “Winter White House.”

For comparison, Obama spent $97m in 8 years.

Apple Talking of Returning to US Amid Trump Policy Statements

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According to Nikkei Asia Review, iPhone assemblers in the East — responsible for producing 200 million phones per year — are in talks about moving production to the U.S.

The move would mean roughly doubling costs — some of which would likely be passed on to consumers — but may be necessary. President Elect Donald Trump has repeatedly singled out Apple as an example of what’s bad in American business. Trump threatened a 45 percent tariff on goods made in China.

Apple is on record as countering that it has created and supports 2 million domestic jobs, and Apple’s Executive Tim Cook has stated that America doesn’t have enough enough skilled workers to handle production.

Trump’s position, on the other hand, was, “How does it help us when they make it in China?”

Just one of the Chinese factories producing phones employs almost 700,000 Chinese workers. However, Apple products are not made entirely in China: components are also made in Japan and Korea.

Economists have pointed out that Apple can move to another country rather than America, and possibly find production costs below even what it now has in China. Economists also have criticized the plan as not being focused on “value creation,” and noted that the mere production of goods provides dubious value to America.

Photo: Gage Skidmore