The Upside

Written by SK Ashby

(Cartoonist - Mike Lukovich)

In other news, Boris Johnson may lose the vote on his Brexit plan tomorrow, but it's also possible the vote won't happen. A coalition of lawmakers are considering a plan to postpone the vote and that would trigger another delay of the Brexit.

Former Tory minister Oliver Letwin and Labour MP Hilary Benn have put down an amendment to Johnson’s motion which would withhold approval for the Brexit deal until the bill that implements it is law.

If it is passed, Johnson would be unable to put his deal to the vote, leaving him in a situation where he’s obliged by law to seek a delay to Brexit.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is expected to deliver a major, anti-China policy speech in Washington next week. I'm sure that won't have any unintended consequences at a time like this.

Finally, former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Harry Broadman, who served under H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, says China is looking like more of a reliable negotiating partner than the United States under Trump is. He's also not impressed by Trump's plan for another truce.

Harry Broadman, former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative under the Bill Clinton administration and current partner at the Berkeley Research Group, told CNBC that any White House communications regarding the trade war should be seen through the lens of the president’s “singular focus” on his 2020 re-election campaign, adding that the deal touted by U.S. trade officials was “not much of a deal in any kind of meaningful way.”

“As everyone knows, it does not touch on the threshold issues that the administration has been talking about for two years, which is the structural reforms, the intellectual property protections, subsidies, the state-owned enterprises and the like,” Broadman told CNBC via telephone from Washington on Tuesday.

“It’s not even obvious to me how much of that was even discussed in the conversations and the reason for that, I believe, is the metric that Trump and his lieutenants, the Secretary of the Treasury and the U.S. Trade Representative, focus on is how to eliminate the merchandise bilateral trade deficit between the two countries.”

Eliminating our trade deficit in merchandise is physically impossible, but that doesn't mean he's wrong that that's what Trump or his advisers really want.

Have a good weekend.