An Associated Press report by Andrew DeMillo is getting a lot of attention this morning — about the possible impact of Donald Trump’s trade war on some promised Chinese industrial projects in the state, particularly a pulp mill in Arkadelphia.

But note this sentence, with emphasis supplied;


The threat of a full-blown trade war has delayed the project further and prompted the state’s governor to send his top economic development official to China to make sure it stays on track.

My point: This plant was announced long before trade hostilities broke out and it faced both environmental and business hurdles (a change in the planned product, for example.) State guarantees for water treatment are also an issue. Lack of progress on other Chinese investments in the state also was evident before Trump announced his tariffs. No doubt they’ve complicated matters further.

For now, the tariff situation isn’t a cause  for optimism. Writes DeMillo:


“It’s like a dark cloud hanging over the future of the project,” Stephen Bell, the president and chief executive officer of the Arkadelphia Area Chamber of Commerce. “Right now, the clouds are off on the horizon. But I think no one knows where the trade situation is going right now.”

Question: Does AEDC Director Mike Preston get to keep the bonuses he was given for landing these plants if they don’t come? He’s building up his frequent flier mileage account with return trips to China and other exotic locales, at least.