U.S. sales to Russia have only risen since sanctions imposed

U.S. Census Bureau foreign trade data show that exports rose 17 percent from March through May _ the most recent months for which the data is available _ compared with the previous three months, before sanctions were imposed. The value of exports has risen in each consecutive month this year, an unusual trend in a trade relationship that historically fluctuates on a monthly basis.

Russian markets account for less than 1 percent of U.S. exports, but what the U.S. sells to Russia is largely high-tech and expensive goods, including technology and equipment for the energy sector, which faces the threat of targeted sanctions.

Robert Kahn, a senior fellow in international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the rise in exports was evidence that Russian companies were stockpiling goods with the expectation that future sanctions would prevent U.S. companies from selling to their country. Continue reading

State-backed China Shipbuilding to raise $1.4 billion for naval buildup

(Reuters) – State-backed China Shipbuilding Industry (601989.SS) plans to raise up to $1.4 billion through a private share sale to buy assets used for building warships, the first time Beijing is tapping the capital market to fund its military expansion.

The move comes as China creates its own military-industrial complex, with the private sector seen taking a key role, as the country gains a new sense of military assertiveness and deals with a growing budget to develop modern equipment including aircraft carriers and drones. Continue reading

China unveils coast guard to manage ‘sea conflicts’

China’s new unified coast guard agency has gone into operation, state media reported yesterday amid maritime disputes with its neighbours, and experts said more ships will be armed as a result.

The China Coast Guard integrates the functions of marine surveillance, the existing coast guard which came under the police, fisheries law enforcement and Customs’ anti-smuggling maritime police. Continue reading