“There is no agreement”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I thought it was curious that Chinese officials announced that they had reached a tentative deal to roll back tariffs after "phase one" one Trump's "greatest and biggest deal ever" before anyone in Trump's regime could announce it and at least one member of the regime thought it was curious as well.

Trump's top trade adviser Peter Navarro appeared on Fox Business yesterday where he said there is no deal and this is just the work of the "Chinese propaganda press.”

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, however, said in an interview with Fox Business Network: “There is no agreement at this time to remove any of the existing tariffs as a condition of the phase one deal.

“They’re just negotiating in public, trying to push this in a direction,” Navarro said of reports he said were put out by “Chinese propaganda press.” [...]

There is no specific agreement for a phased rollback of the tariffs,” said Michael Pillsbury, an outside adviser to Trump.

This deal which may or may not exist was actually announced by China's foreign ministry, not the press, but I digress.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day and Peter Navarro may be correct that this was an attempt to negotiate in public. Stocks surged after China's announcement and that may have been an attempt to show Trump that rolling back tariffs would please the market. They knew that would happen in a market that treats every semi-positive headline as the second coming; where "trade optimism" seems to propel stocks more than actual financial results.

I would say it's also possible that Navarro is the odd man out, but a second adviser to Trump saying there is 'no agreement' tells me that's not the case. As always, it's nearly impossible to determine what's really happening on the rudderless ship of Trump's White House.

Navarro's hatred of China is a matter of record so I can only imagine what advice he's giving Trump today.

  • muselet

    Two possibilities occur to me.

    Peter Navarro may be trying to influence Donald Trump—notice his choice of venues—rather than articulate an administration position.

    Alternatively, Navarro and Michael Pillsbury may be pre-spinning (is that even a concept?) the result of negotiations with China to make Donald Trump look good to his adoring base.

    Neither Navarro nor Pillsbury is saying an agreement can’t be reached, they’re merely saying there’s not one in place right now, which is trivially true.

    Regardless, I’m not sure anyone should believe a single word that falls out of Peter Navarro’s pie hole.


  • gescove

    Every day brings new evidence to belie the stupid notion that government should be run like a business and successful business people are perfect for the job. Either they are genius manipulators of the stock market and corruptly cashing in on insider information or, more likely in my view, they are incompetent Trump lickspittles who couldn’t manage a hot dog cart.

    • JMAshby

      incompetent Trump lickspittles who couldn’t manage a hot dog cart