China wants Apple Back – China’s Davos

Armstrong Economics Blog/China Re-Posted Mar 30, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

China’s zero COVID policy isolated the nation for nearly three years and caused businesses to flee. One of the steepest losses occurred when Apple halted the production of the iPhone 14 in China. If you recall, Foxconn, once the largest iPhone producer in the world, underwent a lengthy lockdown in November 2022. In response, Apple moved a portion of its manufacturing to India and Vietnam.

In October, before the lockdown, Foxconn produced 85% of iPhone Pros. Apple experienced its steepest quarterly revenue decline in half a decade, and the company blamed China for causing production delays. Anti-China sentiment was also a factor, as cheap labor could be found elsewhere without the false label of being a “Chinese company.” However, departing from China cannot happen overnight.

China Premier Li Qiang is now attempting to stop Apple from gradually exiting China. Beijing plans to host the China Development Forum, often called “China’s Davos,” and has extended an invitation to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Aljazeera reported that attendees of this year’s event include US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Procter & Gamble Chief Executive Jon Moeller, PwC Global Chairperson Bob Moritz, and HSBC Chief Executive Noel Quinn.

China’s growth target for 2023 sits at 5%, which is unusually low for the second-largest economy. Cook has already made a visit to China ahead of the summit and expressed optimism that the supply chain issues could be repaired. Losing Apple completely would be detrimental to China’s economy and image. Time will tell how China can navigate US sanctions and retain the business it lost under the zero COVID policy.

Meanwhile, The Petrodollar Just Got Smaller Today as The First LNG Shipment Between UAE and France Is Traded in Yuan

Posted originally on the CTH on March 29, 2023 | Sundance 

Two major energy trade developments today highlight how the Western Alliance is quickly losing a grip on the world energy market, as an alliance between China, Russia, Iran and the Middle East Gulf Cooperation Council starts to take shape with actual trade exchanges that are not in dollars.

Last year, in response to big panda’s own interest and seeking to exploit two western alliance self-created weaknesses; (1) sanctions against Russia and (2) weakened investment in LNG production; China spearheaded the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange.

The exchange was aimed at group purchasing services for liquefied natural gas (LNG) though the use of the yuan to replace the dollar.  Essentially, team Gray operating without the global trading system of team Yellow (map).  The Shanghai exchange allows purchases of LNG portions by small and medium-sized buyers in yuan.

Today, CHINESE national oil company CNOOC and France’s TotalEnergies have completed China’s first yuan-settled liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade through the Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange, the exchange said on Tuesday (Mar 28).

Approximately 65,000 tonnes of LNG imported from the UAE changed hands in the trade, it said in a statement. TotalEnergies confirmed to Reuters that the transaction involved LNG imported from the UAE but did not comment further. (read more)

This exchange between the UAE and France is taking place without dollars. If the process continues the dollar weakens.  In the geopolitical world of currency valuations and trade, this might be considered the Archduke Ferdinand moment for the end of the petrodollar.  The question will become, can they grow this process with OPEC+ support and begin eventually trading oil in yuan?

A second energy targeted development comes from a shipment of Russian diesel fuel into Mexico.  The raw material was: (A) sold at an originating discount; and (B) presumably refined in Spain, making it exempt from the current energy embargo against Russia.


The Tech Industry

Armstrong Economics Blog/AI Computers Re-Posted Mar 27, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION: The tech industry has been shedding jobs like it’s no tomorrow. Are you still hiring when everyone else is firing?


ANSWER: Yes, but only experienced people in Machine Learning/AI. We are in a different field with completely different end goals. Not a start-up company and not trying to create an AI that will know the name of Lady Gaga’s dog.

The layoffs are because they are focused on consumer spending. We are not directed at that. In fact, the worse the economy gets, the greater our demand becomes. We have always been counter-trend in that regard.

Why The Sudden Move to Ban TikTok? Congress Wages War on Free Speech

Armstrong Economics Blog/Censorship Re-Posted Mar 27, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

TikTok is more than dance videos. It has become a community where people can share their uncensored ideas on various topics—including ones that go against the government’s agenda. The House Energy and Commerce Committee grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew for hours on Thursday and made it very apparent that our Congress is completely oblivious to how technology works. Facebook, Meta, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, and nearly all other social media platforms have been infiltrated by the government and are HEAVILY CENSORED. We may soon see the day when Americans are forced to use a VPN.

Why is Joe Biden acting fast to ban TikTok? Inflation is running rampant and he only passes legislation to worsen the problem. It took him 72 hours to even respond to the bank failures. Biden barely flinched over the train derailment and contamination of drinking water across the nation. He has done absolutely nothing to protect our borders, which is contributing to human trafficking, high taxes, and the fentanyl crisis. Suddenly Biden is acting fast to ban an application that he likely has never used.

It is not about privacy from the Chinese government. TikTok is not even available in mainland China as their version is heavily censored. TikTok is a subsidiary of ByteDance, a private company that is not owned by the Chinese government. About 60% of the company is owned by institutional investors, 20% is owned by the founder, and the other 20% is owned by employees. ByteDance has five board members and three of them are American. Their headquarters are in Singapore and Los Angeles, and they have 7,000 employees in the US.

Data has become more valuable than gold. TikTok is already planning to move all of its servers to Texas to appease lawmakers who fear security threats. The US government already has access to all of our data and controls what information we are able to learn. Congress DOES NOT represent the people and we desperately need term limits. North Carolina Representative Richard Hudson asked Shou Zi Chew if TikTok could access his home WiFi. One Congressman did not understand the facial filters that the kids use for fun. The people making our laws are likely cannot operate their own phones.

The 150 million Americans using TikTok are not going to flock to government-sponsored apps produced by Zuckerberg. People have sent me videos on TikTok revealing news that cannot be found elsewhere, such as on-the-ground protests, footage from the ongoing war, declassified documents, and much more. Taking away this platform is a direct violation of our First Amendment rights. They are attempting to silence the people, and more importantly, they do not want us to know the truth. If we relinquish an inch of our freedom, they will continually fight for more.

Peace in the Middle East – China Brokers Saudi Arabia-Iran Peace Treaty

Armstrong Economics Blog/Politics Re-Posted Mar 27, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

China accomplished a once unthinkable feat — a peace treaty between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The two countries have been sworn enemies since the beginning of time, representing conflicting Shiite and Sunni Muslim groups that have been battling since their religion was founded. The two nations have been fighting a proxy war in Yemen that has led to over 150,000 deaths, which is another major story not covered by the mainstream media. This story has only received negative attention in the Western media because it is a major win for China who is now seen as the adult in the room on the international stage.

The press release issued by Saudi Arabia is astonishing, given the deep hatred it had for Iran. Saudi Arabia is now keen on “developing good neighborly relations…in light of their brotherly ties.”

“The three countries announce that an agreement has been reached between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, that includes an agreement to resume diplomatic relations between them and re-open their embassies and missions within a period not exceeding two months, and the agreement includes their affirmation of the respect for the sovereignty of states and the non-interference in internal affairs of states. They also agreed that the ministers of foreign affairs of both countries shall meet to implement this, arrange for the return of their ambassadors, and discuss means of enhancing bilateral relations. They also agreed to implement the Security Cooperation Agreement.”

Rumors are swirling about what this peace treaty could entail. Saudi Arabia and Iran could join BRICs, the alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, and China. If the two nations join, all major energy exporters will be within this alliance. Half of the world’s population would be under this alliance as well. There would be absolutely no need for Western interference in this situation.

The dollar’s dominance would be at risk. The Saudis are already discussing settling oil transactions in the yuan instead of the dollar. This will seriously damage the dollar’s ability to remain the standard reserve currency. China’s rise to becoming the financial capital of the world is happening right before our eyes.

China – US – Claimed Territory – One China Policy

Armstrong Economics Blog/China Re-Posted Mar 26, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

QUESTION:  China’s claimed territory??? So China can claim the entire Pacific as their territory and that means we can’t enter the Pacific???


ANSWER: Whatever China claims is really irrelevant. Up until recently, we did not push the limits and China did not expand its claims. We all agreed to disagree but took no action. In this case, Beijing’s claim of its territorial waters in the South China Sea near the Paracel Islands does not comply with international law.

Nevertheless, the real question is what has changed? You can support war all you want, but remember, this time it will be different. The Neocons are smart. Wrap whatever they do in the American flag and people will die for their claims as well. Wars are created by the elites, not the common people. We also need to examine who is doing what for whatever you thought you were creating for your future and that of your family will exist no more. Everything is changing.

You must understand the language of diplomacy. It may seem irrelevant but it is very critical. The point is that we seem to be deliberately provoking confrontation which is strange and we are abandoning the statement on the One China Policy which has actually protected Taiwan. Before the Neocons seized the White House, there was the agreement of a One China Policy, which tentatively accepted their territorial view of China despite appearing to be more nuanced and fiction rather than substantive.

I know international politics can be very confusing for people unaware that it is all about WORDSMITHING! Words matter and lives depend on those words. Back in January 2017, Rex Tillerson, who was Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Taiwan, based on the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the Six Assurances, at his Senate confirmation hearing. He also indicated that he is not aware of “any plans to alter” the U.S. “one China” policy.

Back in 1979, that is when the United States moved to recognize the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and de-recognize the Republic of China (ROC) (Taiwan). What the United States stated at that time was that the government of the People’s Republic of China was “the sole legal Government of China.” The use of the word “sole” meant that the PRC was and is only China. In those words, there was no consideration of the ROC (Taiwan) as a separate sovereign entity.

Now, against that statement on the surface, the United States did not yield to the Chinese demand that it recognize Chinese Sovereignty over Taiwan. The word “Taiwan” became the name preferred by the United States in the aftermath of the de-recognization of the ROC. So they no longer called it the Republic of China but switched to Taiwan.

This wordsmithing satisfied China and removed the threat of invasion of the ROC. Washington thereby acknowledged the Chinese position that Taiwan was part of China. For geopolitical reasons, both the United States and the PRC were willing to go forward with diplomatic recognition despite their differences on this matter. It became the wordsmithing compromise.

When China attempted to change the Chinese text from the original acknowledge to recognize, the Deputy Secretary of State at the time was  Warren Christopher who testified before the  Senate:

“[W]e regard the English text as being the binding text. We regard the word ‘acknowledge’ as being the word that is determinative for the U.S.”

That was all followed by a U.S.-China Communique on August 17th, 1982. It was there that the United States stated that it had no intention of pursuing a policy of “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.” This is how diplomacy is carried out. I have to do the same in advising governments economically because it always hangs on a single word.

To this day, the U.S. “one China” position has stood until the Neocons have seized the Biden White House. stands: the United States recognizes the PRC as the sole legal government of China but only acknowledges the Chinese position that Taiwan is part of China. Thus, the United States maintains formal relations with the PRC and has unofficial relations with Taiwan. The “one China” policy has subsequently been reaffirmed by every new incoming U.S. administration. The existence of this understanding has enabled the preservation of stability in the Taiwan Strait, allowing both Taiwan and mainland China to pursue their extraordinary political and socioeconomic transitions in relative peace.

The Washington Post wrote:

“The one-China policy is only a symbol of the long-standing, tacit agreement between the two countries to leave the Taiwan question unresolved. It’s a policy worth saving, if possible. But it’s not an agreement the United States can uphold alone. Right now, the one-China policy looks fragile, but it’s Xi — not Biden — who will decide whether the policy and the peace it preserves will survive.”

Because we have now put Taiwan in the face of China with politicians flying there for support, we have guaranteed that China must NOW take Taiwan. The One China Policy has been tiorn up and that means lives must now be lost and the future will never be the same from here on out. The question is WHY?

Blinken is a Neocon. In diplomacy, you DO NOT threaten China publicly. You do that in private phone calls and meetings. When you do that publicly, you are effectively insuring that they then MUST take action or they will appear to be weak. What is Putin said publicly the US must stop sending weapons to Ukraine, and Biden then says, gee, we will stop sending weapons to Ukraine. The American people will call him a puppet of Putin.

The is a HUGE difference in diplomacy between public and private. The fact that Biden has done everything publicly is a slap in the face to china and ensures that they must now confront the USA. This is all being orchestrated and it will be Americans who die for these deliberate acts of the Neocons who have created every war since Vietnam. I seriously doubt that Biden is even aware of who is now running our Foreign Policy. They just want ware and will get it.

The Neocons have no problem sacrificing your children on their altar of geopolitical power. Peace – is no longer an option. Open your eyes. This is intentional – not stupidity!

AI Surveillance Defiant Clothing

Armstrong Economics Blog/Police State Re-Posted Mar 10, 2023 by Martin Armstrong

Fashion trends change to reflect new societal norms and self-expression. Today’s societal norm is constant government spying and mass data collection under the premise that we are all criminals who may defy our failing governments. One may first think of China and its vast array of CCTV cameras that are analyzed by Artificial Intelligence software to compile individual behavioral data that can be used to control the population. “Whoever owns enough data and computing ability can predict problems, predict the future, and judge the future,” Alibaba’s Jack Ma was quoted as saying. As the desire for privacy becomes a cultural norm across the West, fashion designers are finding a way to produce clothing that fulfills this need.

They say fashion in Milan always makes its way to the Americas. An Italian startup company called  Cap_able has developed a clothing line to prevent AI technology from accurately identifying individuals. The company would like to “educate the population on the importance of privacy and human rights by addressing the problem of misuse of facial recognition technology.” There are similar clothing brands that celebrities notoriously use to prevent the paparazzi from taking their photograph. However, this new genre of clothing is designed to confuse sophisticated AI software. This is not an attempt to shield criminals, as AI spying software is intended to target the entire population. The ethical question arises of whether the state has the right to track its citizens. “The protection of one’s privacy or the community: what comes first? However, isn’t the protection of the community born from the necessity to protect the rights of the individual?” the company questioned.

Researchers at Harvard and MIT published an article in Brookings entitled “Exporting the surveillance state via trade in AI.” Once the government or companies collect this data, they can freely export it. The study found that China is currently the world leader in facial recognition technology and has exported over 201 deals to use its programs. The US is second behind China with 128 deals to export facial recognition technology. The published study noted that AI recognition software could “undermine democracies, enhance autocrats’ aims of social control, and empower “surveillance capitalists.”’

The government can recognize your daily whereabouts and behavioral patterns to predict what you may do or where you may go. Social scores, as seen in China, seem far-fetched in the West, but look what happened during the power grab that was COVID when countless countries imposed QR codes to restrict the freedom of movement. Credit scores were not developed in the US until 1958 and were intended to predict whether a borrower could repay their loan. The idea of a credit score would seem far-fetched to people living just a few years prior, and now that same score can vary due to simply purchasing a car or looking up your score.

So AI defiant clothing may serve a purpose in the not-so-distant future if it actually works. It would come to the surprise of none if governments outlawed this clothing or simply updated their software to bypass the designs. There’s a chance that this could simply be a gimmick, as advanced AI can learn to detect and counteract patterns. You cannot hide from Big Brother.

Shooting Down the Chinese Spy Balloon

Watch the spy balloon get shot down by two American Jets on February 4, 2023

It Never Ends – Joe Biden Extends 2011 National Security Emergency over Libya Through 2023

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on February 17, 2023 | Sundance

In 2010 and 2011 the Hillary Clinton State Department, working with NATO allies (particularly France), triggered a crisis in Libya during the Obama administration’s intentional effort to remove Muammar Gaddafi from power.  This was a key element to the Arab Spring (Islamist Spring or Color Revolution) that flowed from the Cairo, Egypt, speech of President Obama a year prior.

Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samanta Power (R2P) were the architects of the destabilization plan.  After the country was destabilized and thrown into severe violent crisis by the U.S. support for radical Islamists in eastern Libya (Benghazi region), President Obama then signed (Feb, 2011) a national emergency declaration in regard to the destabilized Libya his administration created.

Five years later, in April 2016, President Obama expanded the Libya emergency declaration to extend the 2011 declaration and envelop a larger portion of North Africa, under the auspices of expanded threats from AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb).  This extension allowed the state dept to frame actions in neighboring Egypt, and block any effort to counteract Obama’s mid-east policy which was established to support the Muslim Brotherhood.   In April 2016 it was presumed Hillary Clinton would win the election and continue the policy.

Today, a full twelve years after Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton destabilized Libya throwing it into a tribal civil war, Joe Biden signs an executive order continuing the extension of the U.S. National Emergency with regard to Libya {White House Link}.

[…] “The situation in Libya continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and measures are needed to protect against the diversion of assets or other abuses by members of Qadhafi’s family, their associates, and other persons hindering Libyan national reconciliation.

For this reason, the national emergency declared on February 25, 2011, and expanded on April 19, 2016, must continue in effect beyond February 25, 2023.  Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13566.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress. (read full)

U.S. Military Completes Mission to Recover Chinese Surveillance Balloon, Optics and Electronics Now Being Tested by FBI

Posted originally on the CTH on February 17, 2023 | Sundance

The White House is trying to put the best spin on the Chinese spy balloon events by claiming the U.S. military jammed the electronics attached rendering the ability of the surveillance equipment incapable of transmission to relays (satellites) or mainland China.

Additionally, according to the White House strategic communications spokesperson John Kirby, the main structure of the electronics, optics and surveillance system has been recovered by the U.S. military and the equipment is now being studied and reverse engineered. WATCH (05:18 Prompted):

(Via Reuters) – The United States said on Friday it had successfully concluded recovery efforts off South Carolina to collect sensors and other debris from a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon shot down by a U.S. fighter jet on Feb. 4, and investigators are now analyzing its “guts.”

The last of the debris fro the Chinese balloon, which was downed by a Sidewinder missile, is heading to an FBI laboratory in Virginia for analysis, the U.S. military’s Northern Command said in a statement.

Reuters was first to report the conclusion of the recovery efforts, which were halted on Thursday.

“It’s a significant amount (of recovered material), including the payload structure as well as some of the electronics and the optics, and all that’s now at the FBI laboratory in Quantico,” said National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.

Kirby said the United States had already learned a lot about the balloon by observing it as it flew over the United States.

“We’re going to learn even more, we believe, by getting a look at the guts inside it and seeing how it worked and what it was capable of,” he told a White House news briefing.

The U.S. military said Navy and Coast Guard vessels that had been scouring the sea for nearly two weeks have departed the area.

“Air and maritime safety perimeters have been lifted,” Northern Command said in a statement.

The U.S. military has said it believes it has collected all of the Chinese balloon’s priority sensors and electronics as well as large sections of its structure, elements that could help counterintelligence officials determine how Beijing may have been collecting and transmitting surveillance information. (read more)