Trade

‘They Shouldn’t Whitewash Themselves’

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I believe he has already made up his mind, but whether or not Trump will move ahead with additional tariffs on over $260 billion in Chinese goods ostensibly depends on whether or not Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reach some kind of agreement this month.

I would have said (and indeed I have) that was highly unlikely if not impossible even before Xi Jinping spoke this morning.

Xi spoke at a major trade fair in Shanghai today where he made it fairly clear that he won't be giving in to Trump's incoherent demands.

From Bloomberg:

Xi hit back against President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies Monday with some of his most pointed language yet, denouncing “law of the jungle” and “beggar-thy-neighbor” trade practices. At the same time, he didn’t outline any new proposals that would suggest he was prepared to meet Trump’s demands, such as halting forced technology transfers or rolling back support for state-owned enterprises. Stocks declined across Asia.

“All countries should strive to improve their business environment and solve their own problems,” Xi told the inaugural China International Import Expo, which featured more than 3,600 companies from 172 countries, regions and organizations. “They shouldn’t always whitewash themselves and blame others, or act like a flashlight that only exposes others, but not themselves.” [...]

“As globalization deepens, the practices of law of the jungle and winner take all are a dead end,” Xi said.

It's not as if China is completely blameless or innocent, and it's not as if they haven't engaged in dubious trade practices, but Xi Jinping is still able to take the high road because of Trump.

China is far from alone, after all, as Trump's tariffs on all foreign steel, aluminum, and solar panels are still on the books with very few exceptions. Trump has threatened to impose additional tariffs on most of the industrialized world and taken a tougher stance toward our allies and closest trading partners than our enemies.

With exceptions for Russia and North Korea, Trump is reviled throughout most of the world. The United Nations General Assembly openly laughed at him.

Trump and Xi Jinping are never going to reach an agreement because Trump is not agreeable. Even if his trade demands weren't as wildly incoherent as they are, Trump cannot stand the fact that other world leaders command more respect than he does. He can't even handle it when cable news covers former President Obama.

Even beyond trade and the global economy, there are terrible things happening in the world (including in China) that we have no standing to speak out on because Trump has taken the side of the bad guys or done something worse himself.

  • muselet

    Goodbye, prosperity. It’s been fun.

    –alopecia

  • Nefercat

    The orange blowhard’ss narcissism cannot allow him to entertain the concept of “peers” in any way. He cannot and will not ever accept the notion that other sovereign nations and their leaders are his equal. He thinks being president* is a license to bully other world leaders and get it through their heads that he is indeed “the boss of them.” He wants them to grovel to him. It’s why he can’t deal with the EU, the G-7, 8, 20 etc., NATO, the UN, etc. He can’t grasp that he is not, in fact, king of the world. He confused “leader of the free world” with “lord of the free world.”

    What a grotesquely damaged and ugly humanoid.