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Chinese newspaper warns U.S. not to push too hard on trade

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An official Chinese newspaper warned Washington not to demand too much from Beijing as talks on ending their tariff war entered a second day Tuesday with no word on possible progress.

The Trump administration is dealing with an increasingly strong China that has its own pressing needs, said the Global Times, which is published by the ruling Communist Party. It said Washington “cannot push China too far” and must avoid a situation that “spins out of control.”

Negotiators began talks Monday on a fight over Beijing’s technology development tactics that companies worry might hobble global economic growth, but there was no sign either side has changed its stance.

U.S. Presidents Donald Trump launched the trade war in July by hiking tariffs on Chinese goods in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.

He and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed Dec. 1 to postpone more tariff hikes on each other’s goods for 90 days while they negotiate. But economists say that is too little time to resolve issues that have disrupted U.S.-Chinese relations for years.

Washington is pressing Beijing for changes including rolling back plans for government-led creation of Chinese global champions in robotics and other fields. Europe, Japan and other trading partners have echoed Washington’s complaints that those violate Beijing’s market-opening obligations.

Chinese officials have suggested Beijing might alter its industrial plans but they reject pressure to abandon a strategy seen by communist leaders as a path to prosperity and greater global influence. They have tried to defuse pressure for more sweeping change by offering trade concessions including purchasing more American soybeans, natural gas and other exports.

“China would need to significantly recalibrate its industrial policies to fully meet the U.S. trade team’s demands,” Nick Marro of the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a report. “The limited policy movement that we’ve seen so far suggests that a game-changing deal remains unlikely.”

As the talks began Monday at the Chinese Commerce Ministry, Beijing complained about a U.S. warship in what it said were Chinese waters, but it was unclear whether that would disrupt the proceedings. Both sides have provided scant information about their discussions.

Tensions haven’t halted talks

The talks went ahead despite tensions over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on U.S. charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.

The American delegation is led by a deputy U.S. trade representative, Jeffrey D. Gerrish, and includes agriculture, energy, commerce, treasury and State Department officials.

Trump imposed tariff increases of up to 25 per cent on $250 billion US of Chinese imports. China responded by imposing penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing customs clearance for U.S. companies and suspending issuing licenses in finance and other businesses.

The Global Times said China’s growing economy means it can “carry out a more intense boycott” of trade with the United States if needed.

President Donald Trump argued that China has not treated the U.S. fairly in terms of trade. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Beijing’s growing commercial and political ties with its neighbours will make it harder for Washington to find “Asian countries willing to stand at its side and help contain China,” the newspaper said.

Still, cooling economic growth in both countries is increasing pressure to reach a settlement.

Chinese growth fell to a post-global crisis low of 6.5 per cent in the quarter ending in September. Auto sales tumbled 16 per cent in November over a year earlier. Weak real estate sales are forcing developers to cut prices.

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.4 per cent in the third quarter and unemployment is at a five-decade low. But surveys show consumer confidence is weakening because of concern growth will slow this year.

For their part, Chinese officials are unhappy with U.S. curbs on exports of “dual use” technology with possible military applications. They complain China’s companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though almost all deals are approved unchanged.

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Real Estate

Do you know what kind of condo you’re buying?

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(NC) Condominiums can come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s important to know that not all condos are created equal when it comes to warranty coverage.

Whether you’re buying a condominium townhouse, loft-style two-bedroom or a high-rise studio, they are all classified as condominiums if you own your unit while at the same time share access (and the associated fees) for facilities ranging from pools and parking garages to elevators and driveways, otherwise known as common elements.

The most common types of condos are standard condominiums and common elements condominiums. The determination of how a condominium project is designated happens during the planning stage when the builder proposes the project and the municipality approves it.

When you’re in the market to buy, you need to know how your chosen condo is classified because it affects the warranty coverage under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Standard condominiums have warranty coverage for units and common elements, but common elements condominiums only have unit coverage.

How could this affect you as the owner? If your condo complex has underground parking and, for example, there are problems with leaks or a faulty door, the condo designation will determine whether there’s warranty coverage.

If your unit is a standard condominium development, then the common elements warranty may cover the repairs. If it’s a common element condominium development, then repairs might have to be covered by the condo corporation’s insurance, which could impact your condo fees or require a special assessment on all the owners.

To avoid surprises, you should have a real estate lawyer review the Declaration and Description attached to your purchase agreement to be sure that you know the designation and boundaries of the unit you’re looking to purchase. Find more information on the types of condos and their coverage at tarion.com.

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5 savvy renovations to make your kitchen look like new

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(NC) The kitchen is the heart and focal point of any home. But if yours is looking a little tired, a few simple renovations can change the feel of the entire space.

Whether you’ve just moved in, have been meaning to update for years or are experiencing life changes, remember that a kitchen uplift doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. These small-scale projects could be the change your kitchen needs:

  1. Brighten it up.Adding LED lights below your cabinets will brighten your backsplash and counter and provide a warm glow. Place your favourite containers below to act as focal points – those copper canisters that are hiding under the island and the marble coasters you couldn’t resist can now all be on display.
  2. Swap the old with the new.The backsplash is the first thing you see, so replacing it can be enough to give the space a whole new look. Try a unique shape or colour to change things up, like turquoise or patterned tiles, hexagon-shaped tiles or even a full slab of stainless steel.
  3. Rework what you have.People often think new cabinets are necessary for a kitchen reno, but a lot can be done with what you’ve got. Repainting the cabinets and switching out the knobs to chic new handles will do wonders for a makeover.
  4. Don’t hide away.Try adding some open shelving in an unused spot, such as above the sink or window, or next to the cabinets. Display your most beautiful dishes and add some decorative pieces to give the space a modern, airy feel.
  5. Add new materials into the mix.Changing the island to a butcher-block counter adds warmth and practicality.

Taking on a renovation can often feel overwhelming. But if you talk to your contractor about budgeting and spreading out payments through services like The Home Depot Project Loan, it can be easier than you think. The service allows you to finance any home projects, big or small and is available at locations across Canada.

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How to afford a home renovation that fits your life

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(NC) Changing seasons always bring about the desire to update our living spaces. But your life stage and budget can influence what kind of upgrades you can make. Here are some tips to get you started.

Assess the investment. The first step is to gauge how much value your investment will bring, whether you’re looking to sell or grow into a family home. A common misconception among home owners is that all renovations will increase a home’s value; unfortunately, this is not always the case. It’s always a good idea to strategically renovate the space to fit your life plan and goals.

Plan for both long- and short-term value. As a homeowner, it is important to assess what kind of value items can contribute to your life plan. Searching for products that are energy efficient, like an eco-friendly washing machine or water filtration system, can help you save on your monthly bills. A long-term investment, such as hardwood floors or bathroom tiles, can spruce up a living space for years to come. While sometimes this require a larger budget, the project can be both appealing to future buyers and stand the test of time in a family home.

Create a renovation budget. Once you have a clear plan, you’ll need to create a budget to align with your financial goals. Always ensure your budget includes any interest you’ll be paying. Ask multiple sources for competitive quotes.

Use a payment plan. For those high-ticket investment items, consider using a payment plan. Payment solutions such as The Home Depot Project Loan can help with bigger renovations. This allows you to stick to your budgeting goals while using a flexible payment plan to make larger purchases more accessible.

Use DIY to offset costs. In addition to using a payment plan, taking on a few safe and simple renovation projects yourself is an easy way to offset renovation costs. Your local hardware store can help source materials and provide helpful tips to make those do-it-yourself projects, such as refinishing cabinets or sanding old hardwood floors, a breeze.

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