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The U.S. elections have drawn attention from around the world this week, but other stories are developing elsewhere — including in China. The government there has been increasing pressure on one of its biggest trading partners — a neighbor in the Asia Pacific.

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For most Americans, this is a slower than usual week at work. But in the world of diplomacy, this is a busy time — especially in northeast Asia, where the heads of government of Japan, South Korea and China are all meeting this week.

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The United States, Mexico, and Canada have finalized the details of a new free trade agreement. Hawaii stands to see modest benefits.

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted to renew the charter of the Import-Export Bank, largely along party lines, but approval from the Senate is unlikely.

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President Trump says the United States and Japan have reached what he calls the “first stage of a phenomenal new trade agreement.” But the full details are a little less clear.

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BURLINGTON, Vt. — After a decade of booming enrollment by students from China, American universities are starting to see steep declines as political tensions between the two countries cut into a major source of tuition revenue.

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The ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China continues to generate stories around the world. But another aspect of China’s trade is getting much less coverage. 

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Relations between Japan and South Korea have hit another snag. Japan is restricting exports to South Korea of some materials used in the production of smartphones. And the move is part of a much wider dispute.

Maui Brewing Company

A 25 percent tariff on Chinese-made steel poses “a tremendous challenge” for Maui Brewing Company, according to co-founder and owner Garrett Marrero. Uncertainty surrounding the tariffs has led Hawaii’s largest craft brewer to postpone major capital purchases needed to continue the company’s growth.

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Australia’s ABC reports that two senior members of the National Security Council made a rare visit to the Pacific last week, with stops in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The trip is seen as the latest sign that the United States plans to challenge China’s growing influence.

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International safety officials are in Ethiopia, still investigating that tragic air crash over the weekend. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration is keeping the Boeing 737 Max 8 in the air. But some countries have temporarily grounded that airplan including at least two in Asia.

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The United States and China are still negotiating about trade. While businesses and markets wait for developments on that front, another trading partner in the region is facing a disruption.

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There’s a trans-Pacific trade controversy that’s been building for years between the United States and one of its leading trade partners. This one has nothing to do with China, but it does affect a major American company — and shows that international trade rules don’t always keep up with market conditions.

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The politics of trade remain a top priority for the Trump Administration, and that is having an impact on the rest of the Asia Pacific. Vice President Mike Pence represented the United States at the recent APEC meetings, which in many ways set the stage for another international gathering later this month.

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As you may have heard earlier on NPR, President Trump heads to Europe today for a week of diplomatic meetings. He’ll be talking with allies and will also spend time in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But another high-level diplomatic meeting is taking place this week thousands of miles from Europe.

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A new report out this week says flooding related to climate change will cost China nearly 400-billion dollars over the next twenty years. But there will also be high costs to the United States — and not just because of the weather. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

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Several top officials in the Trump Administration will be heading to China next week to talk about trade. The group will be led by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and will include the head of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, as well as the U.S. Trade Representative. While no breakthroughs are expected, some of the challenges are clear. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


President Trump is considering re-engaging with what was once called the Trans Pacific Partnership. But that process may not be a simple one. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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Resiliency of Healthcare Systems; Tariffs & Trade; Surviving School Shootings; Technology in Education

Chinese Tariffs Could Impact Hawaiʻi

Mar 28, 2018
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In Hawaiʻi, there is a lot that ties the state to the Asia-Pacific. Part of that is geography, but it's also culture and economics. Although Hawaiʻi doesn't export much in the way on physical goods, the trade policy set in motion by the Trump Administration could have ripple effects for the Aloha State. Dr. Adam Posen, President of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, shared his perspective on trade issues with The Conversation.

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President Trump’s recent talk about trade tariffs has focused on China. But another trade dispute looks like it will take a toll on a country very important to Hawaii. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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When it comes to news about trade, most of the focus this week has been on President Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Elsewhere, a number of other countries signed a multi-lateral trade deal that will actually REDUCE tariffs in the Asia Pacific. But the United States is not part of it. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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It’s been a volatile week for global stock markets. That’s also true in the Asia Pacific. Today markets are up again—but in the early part of the week, some markets were hit harder than others—despite what remains an encouraging economic outlook. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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It’s been almost exactly a year since President Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But the other 11 countries involved in the negotiations have kept talking over the past twelve months. And now they have an agreement—without the United States. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

As you’ve been hearing on NPR this today, the annual APEC leaders’ meeting is now underway in Vietnam. APEC stands for “Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation,” and the gathering is familiar to residents of Honolulu—which hosted the event in 2011. But this year, it’s a new experience for a very old city. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense

This week, U.S. and South Korean forces will take part in annual military exercises. While they happen every year, these drill are getting more attention than usual. And they’re not the only interaction this week between the U.S. and South Korea. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Roman Harak / Flickr
Roman Harak / Flickr

China has agreed to enforce United Nations trade sanctions against North Korea, and those actions begin today. Earlier this month, all members of the U.N. Security Council approved the move, but the biggest impact will be on China. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Nik Cyclist / Flickr
Nik Cyclist / Flickr

While rhetoric from and about North Korea has dominated the news lately, the United States is pursuing other strategies to try to influence the leadership in Pyongyang. That includes efforts to further isolate North Korea—but in some parts of Asia that may be challenging. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Ian Paterson / Geograph
Ian Paterson / Geograph

A decision in Japan is sparking some backlash in the United States this week. It’s about trade—and a very specific export from the United States. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

While a lot of the news about the Korean peninsula these days focuses on security, there’s another issue that has surfaced this week: trade. The U.S. wants to talk about the free trade agreement that’s in force with South Korea. And the reaction from Seoul is cautious. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.