Trump’s Still No Closer To The China Trade Deal He Promised
November 8, 2019
After his erratic trade policies have hurt workers and farmers, and injected uncertainty into our economy, Trump is still no closer to the trade deal with China he promised.
Just this morning, Trump told reporters that he didn’t even care about making a deal with China. He said,“China would like to make a deal much more than I would.”
Trump claimed a trade deal with China was done and would be signed by November — but the deal isn’t done, and now it likely won’t be signed until at least December.
New York Times: “Mr. Trump, speaking from the Oval Office, said negotiators had reached a ‘Phase 1’ agreement that would take several weeks to write and that both sides could officially sign by November.”
Reuters: “A meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign a long-awaited interim trade deal could be delayed until December as discussions continue over terms and venue, a senior official of the Trump administration told Reuters on Wednesday.”
The U.S. reportedly agreed to China’s demand that Trump eliminate tariffs as a condition of a phase one agreement, which the White House admits won’t include most of its major demands.
CNBC: “China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday that Beijing had agreed with Washington to lift existing trade tariffs between the two nations in phases.”
Navarro: “To be clear, we’re going to need three phases of the deal to deal with all the seven, what I call, structurally deadly sins in China.”
Kudlow: “Both sides are recognizing that it may not be necessary to do everything at once, so we will try to segment these issues going forward. What is not done in ‘phase one’ can spill over into a ‘phase two’ and conceivably a ‘phase three.”
Trump and top White House aides contradicted each other on whether the administration would roll back tariffs as part of a “phase one” agreement.
Kudlow: “If there’s a phase one trade deal, there are going to be tariff agreements and concessions.”
New York Times: “Later in the day, Peter Navarro, one of Mr. Trump’s trade advisers, said that it was too soon to say that tariffs would be rolled back and that the president had not made a decision.”
Reuters: “President Donald Trump on Friday said he has not agreed to rollbacks of U.S. tariffs sought by China, sparking fresh doubts about when the world’s two largest economies may end a 16-month trade war that has slowed global growth.”
The White House made clear that a trade deal had to address forced technology transfers and has been touting progress for over six months — but technology transfers won’t be part of a phase one agreement.
Reuters: “The issue of technology transfers would likely be pushed back to a second phase trade deal, he added.”
Kudlow: “China’s problems, you know, IP theft, forced transfers of technology, problems with getting into cloud services, problems with tariffs, problems with non-tariff barriers, all these things are going to have to be addressed. And that’s the only way it’ll help the American economy.”
Kudlow in March: “White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow described the law as encouraging, saying it ‘will restrain any intellectual property theft and will also restrain any forced transfer of technology.’ ‘That’s extremely promising,’ Kudlow said Friday on C-SPAN. ”
Trump claimed China was already beginning massive agriculture purchases — but his top advisors admitted Trump’s claims were exaggerated and premature.
Trump: “=And we just made a deal for our farmers, where $40 billion to $50 billion of agricultural products are going to be bought by China. And they’re going to start now before we even sign the agreement. They’ve already started.”=
Mnuchin: “U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that it will take time for Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods to ‘scale up’ to the $40 billion to $50 billion annual level touted by President Donald Trump if the two sides can seal a ‘Phase 1’ trade deal.”
Kudlow: “Yeah, yeah, well, that’s fair because I mean the government gives guidance, but a lot of that stuff is done by private companies. So, market conditions, you know, prices can fluctuate, weather can move. They’ve had some terrific health scares with swine and so forth. But, you know, that—that number was a considered number.”
Trump reversed his pledge to secure a “complete deal” with China after being warned he needed to make some sort of deal to boost his reelection.
Trump: “We’re looking for a complete deal. I’m not looking for a partial deal.”
Wall Street Journal: “President Trump’s top economic adviser last week arranged an Oval Office briefing with outside experts who warned the president that continued escalation of U.S.-China trade tensions could imperil the economy and hurt Mr. Trump’s chances for re-election, according to people familiar with the meeting. The Oct. 8 briefing, which came two days before trade talks between senior U.S. and Chinese officials, was arranged by Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House National Economic Council. The meeting included Stephen Moore, an economic commentator and a former candidate for the Federal Reserve Board, and Republican economist Lawrence Lindsey, the people said.”