Tuesday, April 7th @ 10pm, WGVU-TV presents FRONTLINE's China Undercover. From producer Robin Barnwell (Battle for Hong Kong) the documentary also examines the Communist regime’s use of sophisticated surveillance and AI technology against the members of its Muslim population. In addition to undercover footage, the documentary draws on accounts from family members who are desperately searching for their disappeared loved ones, and the stories of people who were held in the detention camps themselves.

Assembly line photo
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The economic impacts created by the coronavirus outbreak in China are rippling through the global supply chain. Curbing the spread of the disease, the Chinese government ordered the shutdown factories. It’s an order rippling through Michigan’s automotive industry. WGVU spoke with an attorney advising auto parts suppliers.

“If just one part in one assembly isn't delivered on time that could delay deliveries of products to a Ford or a Chrysler or General Motors and that could slow down production or a potentially stop production for a period of time.”

Brian G. Long portrait

The West Michigan economy remains soft. That’s the finding from the January Institute for Supply Management Research survey. There’s a tariff hangover and the coronavirus outbreak hindering the global economy.

The signing of the United States – Mexico – Canada Trade Agreement will benefit Michigan businesses. Gone are the tariffs.

“There was a pretty stiff penalty that Canada had put on our auto parts going to Canada and most of that will be taken away.”

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University

The latest Institute for Supply Management survey indicates the local economy grew at a marginal rate in September.

Throughout the summer months the U.S.-China trade war and its tariffs slowed manufacturing and Brexit have weighed on the minds of local purchasing managers. Factor in the recent United Auto Workers strike with General Motors and it would stand to reason they’d have gloomier outlook in September.

Container ship photo

The Trump administration has placed a 25% tax on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports. The plan is to institute another 10% on $300 billion on September 1st. More recently, the threat to levy another 10% tariff on Chinese goods not yet affected. As the trade war escalates how is it impacting farmers and manufacturers in West Michigan and across the country?

“We’ve said consistently the short-run effects of a trade war are always negative. There’s no such thing as a short-run gain in a trade war.”

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University

Uncertainty creeping into the national and global economy is impacting the confidence level of local purchasing managers in the May Supply Management Research survey.

There are also signs the economy is slowing “Our local index of business confidence as fallen to near record low levels.”

Brian G. Long is director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University.

“And at the same time, who also surveys business confidence for the United States, indicates that their survey has fallen to a record low level.”

Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University

Ten years ago the recovery from the Great Recession officially began. For the West Michigan economy it’s been a decade-long pattern of slow growth. The March Supply Management survey indicates the pattern holds true with confidence beginning to slip.

The Institute for Supply Management Research surveys 70 purchasing managers from the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo area. In March, their optimism in the economy began to fade.

U.S.-China flags

The Ambassador of China to the United States visited Grand Rapids Friday as a guest of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan. Retired Ambassador Nicholas Burns was at his side for a discussion about the trade war and future U.S.-China relations and the global economy. 

His Excellency Cui Tiankai, Ambassador of China to the United States says China abides by World Trade Organization rules.

Governor Rick Snyder
Office of Gov. Rick Snyder /

Michigan's governor says he's promoting the state's leadership in mobility and autonomous vehicle technology development as part of his trade trip to China.

The office of Gov. Rick Snyder says he signed a memorandum of understanding Monday with China's Ministry of Science and Technology that seeks to "further advance innovation and cooperation within the automotive and technology sectors, including new energy and autonomous vehicle technologies."

Ford Motor Company emblem
Wikimedia Commons

Ford says it won't be moving production of a hatchback vehicle to the United States from China - despite President Donald Trump's claim that his taxes on Chinese imports mean the Focus Active can be built in America.

Citing Trump's new tariffs, Ford on Aug. 31 said it was dropping plans to ship the Focus Active from China to America.

Trump took to Twitter Sunday to declare victory and write: "This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs!"