With a little more than three weeks to go before the international trade apocalypse, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Trump's unhinged trade representative Robert Lighthizer are headed back to China.
Their mission, since they've chosen to accept it, is to strike a deal that will protect American intellectual property even though China publicly denies violating intellectual property.
Reuters reports that talks will begin next week which will actually leave a little more than two weeks to resolve large, structural issue.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior U.S. and Chinese officials are poised to start another round of trade talks in Beijing next week to push for a deal to protect American intellectual property and avert a March 2 increase in U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, two people familiar with the plans said on Tuesday.
The sources said that the U.S. delegation would begin arriving in Beijing over the weekend, following a break this week for Chinese New Year. [...]
Bilateral talks have centered on addressing U.S. demands for deep structural changes to China’s economic and trade policies, including new protections for U.S. intellectual property, ending forced technology transfers, reining in China’s subsidies for state industries and increasing Chinese purchases of U.S. farm, energy and manufactured products.
As you may recall, the last time Steve Mnuchin was dispatched to China to negotiate a trade deal on behalf of the Trump regime, he engaged in a profanity-laced shouting match with Trump's top trade adviser Peter Navarro in view of Chinese officials.
As far as we currently know, Navarro is not traveling to China with Mnuchin and Lighthizer.
Now that we know Trump is meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam at the end of the month, it appears everything that needs to happen before the March 1st deadline to avert a trade disaster will come down to the last minute.
Trump said he would personally make the final call on a trade "deal" with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but if Mnuchin and Lighthizer aren't traveling to China until next week, and if Trump is meeting with Kim-Jong Un a week later, that does not leave much time to put the finishing touches on a serious proposal; a proposal we've heard virtually no details about yet.
I feel justifiably skeptical that everything is going to fall into place and I currently expect we'll see another delay of Trump's deadline for higher tariffs. Spinning another delay could be as simple as saying they've seen enough progress to justify a delay even if that's not necessarily true.