china_tradeWe travel the Karakoram Highway from China to Pakistan on today’s edition of Washington Extra.  Driving the agenda for Reuters today is news that the United States could be heading for another trade row with China, after it announced plans to toughen rules against what it sees as unfair trade practices. A number of the proposals are likely to irk Beijing and could provoke retaliation.

It is all part of the Democrats’ “Make it in America” agenda to save manufacturing jobs at home. Critics will no doubt see it as more evidence that President Barack Obama is a closet protectionist. Others argue that this is a shrewd move from the administration to head off still more damaging moves from Congress.

Over at the IMF, Pakistan’s finance minister is in town seeking more help to salvage his country’s economy in the face of the devastating floods. The mood so far seems hopeful. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said Pakistan wanted to keep pursuing an $11 billion IMF loan program and demonstrate its resolve to take tough economic decisions, dismissing reports that it might abandon the program. The IMF, for its part, is already urging donors to give grants, not loans, for rebuilding projects, to avoid adding to Pakistan’s heavy debt burden.

While we are on the subject of the IMF, an interesting little row is developing which could throw the global lender into disarray. The United States is urging Europe to give some of the seats it occupies on the IMF’s 24-member board to emerging market countries to reflect their growing global economic weight. You won’t be surprised to learn that Europe has balked at the idea of yielding some of its nine chairs — because it is divided over how to do it. The sides face an Oct. 31 deadline when the mandate of the existing board expires. “The IMF will be in crisis unless a solution is found in time,” a senior board official said.

Here are our top stories from today…

U.S. lays out plan to strengthen anti-dumping regime

The United States announced plans to toughen rules against what it sees as unfair foreign trade practices, proposing a number of changes likely to irk China, its biggest import supplier. At least some of the proposals could lead to higher anti-dumping or countervailing duties on goods from the Asian manufacturing giant, the most frequent target of U.S. complaints about unfair trade in recent years.
For the full story by Doug Palmer, click here.