Visualizing Trump's Trade Flip-Flops On Actual Shipping Routes

The bulk carrier RB Eden changed course twice thanks to Trump's trade reversals. A third time may be in the works.

The Voyage of the RB Eden tracks Trump's trade policy reversals with China.

The bulk carrier RB Eden was loaded with the grain at Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.’s terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas, and was initially bound for Shanghai. When China announced a 179 percent tariff on imports of sorghum in mid-April, it performed a U-turn in the Indian Ocean, according to vessel data tracked by Bloomberg, and sailed back around southern Africa toward Europe.

The vessel’s destination was changed to Cartagena, Spain, but according to the data, it never docked. On May 18, China scrapped its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probe into sorghum. The same day, the RB Eden began sailing back toward the Atlantic. It’s currently bound for Singapore.


Saga of the RB Eden

In response to Trump's sanctions on Chinese telecom giant ZTE, China put huge tariffs on US agricultural goods. That's what caused the RB Eden to turn the first time.

Then, just as the RB Eden nearly reached dock in Spain, Trump removed sanctions on ZTE and in turn, China removed tariffs on agricultural goods.

The RB Eden turned around and is headed back to Asia.

Will the RB Eden make it this time?

It's rather questionable. Trump has again reversed course on China.

Under pressure from Congress, Trump reversed course on ZTE sanctions yesterday, after declaring trade success on Sunday.

If China responds with agricultural tariffs again, the RB Eden will not make it to port in China.

Neither Here Nor There

I made a fitting comment yesterday, unaware of the saga of the RB Eden.

"Trump's trade policy is like a page from French president Emmanuel Macron. It's neither here nor there, nor anywhere."

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Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (13)
No. 1-13

The President's vacillation on trade and other policies will continue to erode the faith of foreign governments and companies is the US as a source of services and materials, a potential customer and international ally. Consider being a foreign company like ZTE who relies on the US as sole supplier for components only to have them summarily shut off. I have no opinion on the justification of the ZTE action - indeed there may be national security considerations that fully justify the action. However, vacillation can only lead to distrust, and firms and countries
do not tend to do business with entities they can not rely on.


So many of us believed that George W. Bush was the manifestation of the following Mencken wisdom -- little did we know that Trump was its fulfillment (or are we to be further victimized in the future by even more impressive morons):

"... when a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand.

So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or count himself lost. … All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

Baltimore Sun (26 July 1920)


I don’t tell this buffoon how to run his motels, so, why is he telling me who to trade with, and how?


Scientific study on international tariff/sanctions effects on shipping trade routes.