The Wall Street Journal reports that American and Chinese officials asked each other to make "sweeping concessions" during high-level trade talks last week, but what they're asking for is not necessarily something either side can give.
While China's demands are also unrealistic, I'm going to say the Trump regime's demands are far more nonsensical because it demonstrates that they don't understand trade.
The U.S. asked China to cut its trade surplus by $200 billion, for example, while the Chinese officials sought to get Washington to ease national-security reviews of Chinese investments. Instead of reaching common ground, the talks ended inconclusively Friday. [...]
As the delegation was flying back to Washington, the White House released a statement saying the two sides “held frank conversations” about “rebalancing” U.S.-China economic relations. The U.S. trade team would brief President Donald Trump and “seek his decision on next steps,” the statement said. It made no mention of any effort to maintain ongoing communication on trade issues with Beijing.
China has a trade surplus with the United States because our economy is in good shape and, to use a technical term, Americans are buying more shit.
We have a service-based economy that depends on the availability of cheap imports to maintain a high standard of living and, when the economy is doing well, Americans have more income to buy even more shit on top of the shit they already have. This leads to even larger trade deficits because while we do buy more shit, we aren't producing more shit.
It sounds funny when you put it this way, but the only sure-fire way to drastically reduce our trade deficits would be to have a recession.
Of course, if recession is the goal, imposing tariffs and quotas on our source of cheap consumer goods is one way to possibly trigger one.