Trump’s Dilemma on a Trade Deal With China By Azhar Azam

After the G7 summit, President Trump said he believed China is sincere in seeking a trade deal and insisted Beijing wants “to make a deal badly”. He was responding to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He’s comments about China’s will to resolve the trade row through dialogue with a “calm attitude”.
Trump’s softer but bitter riposte to Liu’s call was redundantly vexatious as the Chinese leader also pointed at Washington’s policies based on trade protectionism and technology blockades. The China-US trade war archives deny the phony claim by Trump. It is a blatant truth that Beijing has been urging Washington to defuse the situation through talks, but Trump showcasing the Chinese position as weak is outrageous.
The rash statement came after the US President came under pressure from G7 leaders and US businessmen and farmers to stop the trade war that has rattled world economies including that of the US. Realistically, Trump himself is pleading for a trade deal with Beijing as he is short of munitions to hurt China economically and is searching for a dignified way out.
With his tariff escalations, the US President would have made 95% of the Chinese goods subject to 15% to 30% tariffs by Dec 16. While no further tariff intensification would remain at Trump’s disposal, he would soon concede his sole leverage in the trade war.
His growing curbs to slap more tariffs on Chinese goods are coupled with the tumbling Wall Street and the US manufacturers’ and exporters’ anxieties. They probably pressed Trump to get paler on Beijing while narrating China’s sincerity in striking a trade deal with him.
Trump’s weird diplomacy is flawed as he builds a close rapport with heads of states while slating their countries. Although he is belligerent in his rhetoric, he does not shy away from flattering his counterparts. He asserts that President Xi is his “personal friend” while simultaneously declaring China is a foreseeable economic and strategic rival and a significant threat to national security.
Last week, Trump took to Twitter to label Xi an enemy. A few days later, he praised his Chinese peer as a great leader representing a great country. When asked about the shift, he bizarrely stated, “Sorry, this is the way I negotiate. The way I negotiate has done very well for me over the years and it’s even doing better for the country.”
Trump must know whether he pans or admires Xi, he is the President of China and so the custodian of his country’s interests. Unlike Trump who has squashed the Americans’ future, China has pulled more than 700 million people out of poverty under Xi’s leadership. Americans would like their President to serve like Xi has. It was an example of American businesses’ trust on China that the Wall Street market scooped when Trump signalled to resume talks with Beijing.
Given Trump’s Friday announcement of additional tariffs in response to Beijing’s intent to retaliate against US goods, Bloomberg on Tuesday wrote, “Going into the traditional Labor Day end of the US summer, the prospects of a peaceful resolution… seem far lower than they were on Memorial Day — and growing more distant by week.” Americans shouldn’t be hopeful as Trump has failed to adopt a clear position on trade and instead lied about receiving a call from the Chinese to “get back to the table”, a claim China’s foreign ministry was unaware of.
While Trump defended his ambition of ordering US manufacturing companies to leave China, the newest method is doomed as experts point out that no US president can order businesses to leave a country.
The stigma of Trump’s failed confrontational policies will keep chasing him until his term expires or might continue to haunt him throughout his life.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2019.

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