Will the Trump regime actually go through with their on-again, off-again plan to impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in the coming weeks?
Your guess is as good as mine at this point, but the key to avoiding a hot trade war could be Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
That's not good news. Ross will visit China in the coming weeks to make one last attempt to avoid it, but Ross has apparently fallen out of favor with Trump. Politico reports that Trump has insulted Ross to his face in the oval office and it's possible he's being set up to fail.
Trump himself has lashed out at Ross in Oval Office meetings, telling the man who once helped bail him out in Atlantic City that he’s “past his prime” and “no longer a killer” and trying to bench him from making trade deals, according to three people familiar with the comments. [...]
“The fact that he is going over to China is a signal that the president has some confidence in him. He likes Ross even if he does not consider him a killer,” said one former administration official. “But it’s also a signal that they are not expecting a whole lot. You would not send him if you were expecting real progress.”
I don't know if Wilbur Ross was ever a "killer" but, curiously, Politico also reports that Ross's last visit to China was part of his downfall in the White House. Ross reportedly brokered a deal that would open up Chinese markets to American beef in exchange for opening the American market up to Chinese chicken.
That seems like the kind of deal you may be open to making if you were actually interested in making deals, but Trump reportedly rejected the deal because it was "too small." That would certainly comport with everything else we've seen in recent weeks. Trump just wants put on a big show.
Regarding both trade and North Korea, I get the impression that Trump is following the same script in both cases: act erratic under the belief that it will lead to a miraculous breakthrough for no particular reason.
It's the Art of the Fail. Or fallout.