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 Trump’s New Trade War Tool Might Just Be Antique China Debt

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Trump’s New Trade War Tool Might Just Be Antique China Debt Vide
PostSubject: Trump’s New Trade War Tool Might Just Be Antique China Debt   Trump’s New Trade War Tool Might Just Be Antique China Debt Icon_minitimeSun Sep 01, 2019 8:08 pm

Collectors of pre-Communist debt are lobbying the White House to force Beijing to make good.

Trump’s New Trade War Tool Might Just Be Antique China Debt 400x-1

President Donald Trump’s next move in an increasingly fraught trade war with China could be one for the history books, literally. The Trump administration has been studying the unlikely prospect of reviving century-old claims on Chinese bonds sold before the founding of the communist People’s Republic.

The defaulted China bonds can be found in the attics and basements of thousands of Americans, or on EBay, where the certificates sell as collectibles for as little as a few hundred dollars each. The PRC, which succeeded the Republic of China after it replaced the imperial dynasty, has never recognized the debt, though that hasn’t stopped decades of attempts to collect payment on it.

Now, with Trump ratcheting up the trade rhetoric with China, holders of the antiquarian bonds are hoping he’ll press their case, even as other parts of the U.S. government are accusing people of fraudulently selling the same paper.

Perhaps the only thing more peculiar than the story of the Chinese debt and the bid to seek payment on it, is the cast of characters drawn into its orbit. President Trump, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have met with bondholders and their representatives. Kirbyjon Caldwell, pastor of a Texas megachurch and spiritual adviser to George W. Bush, has been charged by the U.S securities regulator for selling the debt to elderly retirees. (Caldwell has pleaded innocent and maintains that the bonds are legitimate.)

“With President Trump, it’s a whole new ballgame,” says Jonna Bianco, a Tennessee cattle rancher who leads a group representing pre-revolutionary China bondholders and who has met with the president. “He’s an ‘America First' person. God bless him.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-29/trump-s-new-trade-war-weapon-might-just-be-antique-china-debt

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