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Tanzania Tells China Merchants Holdings: “Take It or Leave It!”

Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli speaks during a joint press conference with Kenyan President on October 31, 2016 at the State House in Nairobi. SIMON MAINA / AFP

Tanzanian President John Magufuli seems to be taking a page from Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s playbook on how to negotiate with the Chinese. Mahathir last year, if you recall, abruptly canceled a multi-billion dollar rail and oil pipeline deal with the Chinese, calling them “unfair.” Unsurprisingly, China’s critics in the US/EU jumped with excitement that finally an emerging market leader stood up and said “enough.”

Well… it turns out that Mahathir was just negotiating and with his tough tactics he brought the Chinese back to the table where he got the Beijing to significantly lower their price.

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