Trade

Ross “Hopeful” Trump Will Sign a Real Deal At Some Point

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The terms of Trump's 'greatest deal' with China are reportedly up in the air so we can't say for certain what will be included in the deal, but we can say that it won't be a "robust" deal.

We can say that because that's what Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says.

Ross spoke to reporters yesterday when he said whatever Trump signs with Chinese Xi Jinping will 'hopefully' lead to something substantive later on down the road.

We’re hopeful that phase one will be the precursor of a much more robust set of agreements,” Ross said during a call with reporters during a visit to Thailand for regional meetings.

He said the phase one agreement would reduce tensions and build trust between the United States and China and would also increase global trade confidence.

“If we resolve phase one, that will calm people down a lot because they’ll see an end point is hopefully within sight,” he said.

I thank Ross for always saying the quiet parts out loud, but I don't think he's correct that "phase one" will "calm people down" and convince the world that an end point is in sight.

If phase one doesn't include terms for rolling back Trump's tariffs or China's retaliatory tariffs that are already on the books, it will be a signal that Trump's trade war is here to stay; not that it will be over soon.

The more time passes by without signing a deal, the more we see White House rhetoric dialed down to reduce expectations. By the time Trump actually signs something next month, we'll be a long way from the "greatest and biggest deal ever." To some extent, I wonder if this has already reduced the political impact of whatever gets signed.

  • muselet

    If the Trump administration had somehow managed to sign a phase one agreement with China six or eight months ago, that might have reduced tensions, built trust and increased confidence.

    Now, not so much.

    The administration is just saying buzzwords, hoping someone falls for their line of malarkey. It’s pretty much all the administration has done since January of 2017, but the stakes are higher now.

    –alopecia