Trump’s Trade Rep. Heads Back to China

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump's trade representative Robert Lightizer is headed back to China for another round of trade talks and the Trump regime claims they're close to a deal, but are they actually close to a deal or are they getting further apart?

If you believe the White House, a deal is right around the corner, but if you believe reports that I personally find to be more credible -- a deal is further out of sight now that it was last month.

From Reuters:

“Talks with China are going very well,” Trump said at the end of a White House news conference with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. [...]

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that following next week’s negotiation in Beijing, [Chinese Vice Premier Liu He] would travel to Washington the week of April 1 as the two sides aim for a deal by the end of the month. The report, citing unnamed administration officials, said the trade talks were in the final stages.

The Journal report and Trump’s latest upbeat comments contrasted with a Bloomberg report on Tuesday that progress in the talks was slowing as Chinese officials have “stepped back” from some initial promises they made on improving intellectual property protections demanded by the United States.

Based on various reports from multiple sources from Bloomberg to Reuters, it appears that the Trump regime is arguing that China should agree to make structural changes to their economy and their relationship with the United States without a guarantee that Trump will lift his tariffs on Chinese goods. And even Trump were to promise that the tariffs would be lifted, it appears he's not willing to lift them right away.

If that really is the case -- if Trump is asking them to give the game away in exchange for virtually nothing -- it's no wonder that a deal is still far out of sight.

Whatever the case may be, I think it's safe to say we won't know how this is going to end until the end of April at the earliest and possibly later than that.

The further we get into the calendar year, the more damage will be done to vulnerable industries with no opportunity to recover.

  • muselet

    Since late February, the two sides have been working to refine language on reform pledges that China intends to take, along with an enforcement mechanism aimed at ensuring Beijing will follow through on such changes.

    But Chinese officials have sought an immediate end to the tariffs that Trump has imposed on about $250 billion worth of Chinese imports. Trump administration officials have not specified any plans for rolling back such duties.

    Yep, it’s always a sign that negotiations are going “very well” when the parties don’t even agree on what it is they’re negotiating.