Trade

Exports Collapse, Trump Threatens New Tariffs On China

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Is Trump's "biggest and greatest" deal with China still intact as he says, or is it "over" like Ron Vara says?

Officially, the "phase one" trade deal -- which feels like a misleading moniker given that there will be no further phases -- is still in place, but the truth is international trade is down significantly because of the coronavirus pandemic and the United States is certainly no exception since American consumers buy the most shit.

Imports did drop in May according to the Commerce Department, but our exports fell by a far greater amount and the most in eleven years.

Goods exports plummeted 5.8% in May from the prior month to $90.1 billion, the lowest since August 2009, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday. Imports decreased 1.2% to $164.4 billion. [...]

The goods-trade deficit widened to $74.3 billion, the biggest since June last year, from a revised $70.7 billion a month earlier. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a $68.2 billion gap.

Our trade deficit is widening because American consumers still depend on imports more than foreign consumers need our exports.

But that won't stop Trump from threatening to impose new tariffs on China for not purchasing goods there's no longer any real demand for.

Ron Vara, or Peter Navarro, told reporters that Trump will impose tariffs if China doesn't buy more lobster and he ordered the Department of Agriculture to bail out the lobster industry.

“If those purchase commitments are not met, the United States Trade Representative has been directed to use his discretion to impose ... reciprocal tariffs on the China seafood industry,” trade adviser Peter Navarro told reporters. He was referring to $150 million in purchase commitments Beijing made under the so-called Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal.

In the memorandum, Trump also directed the U.S. Agriculture Department to provide lobster fishermen with the same type of assistance other parts of the agriculture sector are receiving to protect them from harmful trade practices, Navarro said.

Because if there's anything people in China need during a pandemic, it's luxury goods like expensive lobster imported from overseas, right?

Trump is threatening to impose retaliatory tariffs, but that's what led to trouble for the American lobster industry to begin with. China's retaliatory tariffs that came in response to Trump's tariffs sent business across the border to Canada's lobster industry which isn't involved in a trade war with China.

There have been so many official threats to impose new tariffs in recent days, I haven't even discussed all of them here. I understand that Trump is clinging to whatever he can right now and he feels like picking fights with foreigners is a winning issue for him, but doing this while we're still losing about 1.5 million jobs per week and seeing record virus infections is insanity.

Maybe the White House thinks a wider trade war is actually the solution to our current economic problems and not, you know, containing the coronavirus. And if that's the case, they are truly deranged.

The Trump regime is laying the groundwork for possible tariffs on South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam in addition to their recent threats against Mexico and official plans to impose tariffs on Canada next week and the European Union later this summer.

  • Draxiar

    More tariffs? I swear that’s the only thing this fuckwit knows how to do for international relations…well, that and ineffective air strikes…and kissing the feet of other dictators.

  • muselet

    Maybe the White House thinks a wider trade war is actually the solution to our current economic problems and not, you know, containing the coronavirus. And if that’s the case, they are truly deranged.

    They’re truly deranged.

    –alopecia