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US Ship With Soybeans Raced the Clock Toward China

But 'Peak Pegasus' appears to have fallen just short, as tariffs go into effect
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2018 1:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Trade disputes generally don't lend themselves to exciting visuals, but the new one between the US and China might be an exception. As the deadline neared for new penalties to take effect, a ship laden with US soybeans raced toward the Chinese port of Dalian, capturing the attention of users on the Chinese social media site Weibo, reports Reuters. "You are no ordinary soybean!" one user wrote in regard to the ship Peak Pegasus, which set out from Seattle last month. "Good luck bro!" wrote another. However, Reuters reports that the Pegasus arrived just a smidge late to beat the deadline, and Bloomberg also reports that the ship "looks to have lost its race"—unless perhaps Chinese officials were feeling generous. Related coverage:

  • Soybeans? They just happen to be the top American agricultural export to China, as an interactive graphic at Reuters reveals. China took in about $12 billion worth last year. US farmers' pain will be Brazilian farmers' gain, reports Fortune.
  • One huge factor: CNBC reports that a major issue behind this trade war is 5G—and whether the US or China will be the nation to dominate the next generation of the mobile internet. This is about far more than faster download times, however. "It is being touted as a technology that could support the next generation of infrastructure, from the billions of internet-connected devices expected to come online in the next few years, to smart cities and driverless cars."

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  • The big concern: President Trump made good on his promise to impose tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods at midnight Friday, and Beijing immediately retaliated with tariffs of its own. World markets have generally weathered the storm, but the big concern is a Trump threat to hit China with another $550 billion or so in tariffs. “The first round’s impact is not that big, but the key is whether there will be more—a second round of revenge and retaliation and a third round,” Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing tells the Washington Post.
  • Watch the media: A post at Axios notes that Chinese media has been pretty tame so far in criticizing Trump and the US. "Signs that things are about to get worse may include much more explicit fanning of anti-US sentiment and official calls, or at least tolerance of 'grassroot' calls, for boycotts of US goods."
  • Opioids: The dispute could have consequences that go beyond standard trade issues. USA Today notes that China is currently cooperating with the US in trying to curb the movement of illegal opioids such as fentanyl into the US, but soured relations could end that partnership and make the opioid problem worse in the US.
  • Hollywood: US filmmakers are worried on two fronts: First, if Chinese investors stop pouring money into American films, reports the Wall Street Journal. And second, if the trade friction will limit access to the massive audience of Chinese filmgoers, reports Politico. That money often saves films that do poorly in the US.
(Read more trade war stories.)

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