1. The news that mattered this morning

Economic Development and Trade Minister David Parker is the architect of New Zealand's foreign buyers ban and its rejigged trade agreements. Photo by Lynn Grieveson.

Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports. China promised to retaliate. Trump said he would add another $200 billion if China did. The Kiwi dollar fell below 69 USc. David Parker agreed to exempt Singaporeans from the foreign buyers ban to allow the CPTPP to go ahead. Kris Faafoi announced plans to toughen rules on beneficial ownership and director identification. A major inquiry into a firm of private investigators used by Government agencies was launched.

An all-out trade war looms

US President Donald Trump ordered officials to draw up a list of US$200 billion worth of imports from China to impose a 10 percent tariff on unless China made more concessions to America. China threatened in return overnight to retaliate, which worsened a slump on global stock and currency markets.

“If the U.S. loses its senses and publishes such a list, China will have to take comprehensive quantitative and qualitative measures,” China's Ministry of Commerce said. It described Trump's move as “extreme pressure and blackmail.”

Trump said he would impose tariffs on a further $200 billion if China retaliated.

The New Zealand dollar fell below 69 USc this morning as investors scrambled to the relative safety of the US dollar. The US 10 year bond yield fell to 2.88 percent and the New Zealand 10 year bond yield fell to 2.85 percent.

Bloomberg reports on the tit-for-tat language and Reuters reports on what's at stake in such a global trade conflict.

A done deal

Further to our exclusive report on Monday afternoon that the Government was loosening its ban on foreign buyers financing and owning new apartments, the Government laid out the details of the changes.

That includes a deal to allow Singaporeans to buy homes here, unless there's a massive influx of buyers. That removes the last trade deal impediment to going ahead with the CPTPP. See more details in Sam Sachdeva's report for Newsroom Pro on the deal with Singapore and Thomas Coughlan's report on David Parker's comments on the loosened ban.

Disturbing details

The other big story around Wellington is revelations about an SIS agent helping a notorious firm of private detectives and political operatives get work with various Government departments. See more here in Sam Sachdeva's report for Newsroom Pro.

Companies office crackdown

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi announced the release of a discussion paper on measures to stop people misusing companies and directorships to hide or launder money.

The paper is focused on increasing the transparency of beneficial ownership and introducing a director identification number and the full cabinet paper is here.