Donald Trump has made it clear from his previous statements that he wants a trade deal with China, but judging by his current actions, he’s not looking to get one done anytime soon, according to reports by CNN.
At the announcement of the USMCA, the new trade deal between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, Trump confidentiality spoke of the other countries and regions that have given in to his demands and made a deal, including South Korea, Japan, and the European Union.
Trump laughed at those who criticized his confrontational style toward trade, saying “we wouldn’t be talking about a deal” with Mexico and Canada if he hadn’t behaved in such a manner.
Political analysts believe this could be a sign that Trump won’t be budging on a Chinese trade deal unless it suits him. Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told CNN, “That’s going to embolden him to impose more tariffs and threaten more in the hopes of getting a better deal out of China.”
Trump’s Chinese strategy will be the main topic of discussion at this week’s meeting of global finance chiefs and central bankers in Bali, Indonesia. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will be present and as the face of Trump’s economic plans when abroad, it will be up to him to calm fears that this trade war could damage global economic growth.
Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, described the situation by saying, “The stakes are high. We need to work together to de-escalate and resolve the current trade disputes.”
Trump is banking on the success of getting the European Union and Japan to join with South Korea and the countries of North America to form what Trump officials have described as a “coalition of the willing” to face down China.
“We are talking to the European Union again, we are talking to Japan again, and we are moving to what I have characterized as a trade coalition of the willing to confront China,” said Larry Kudlow, Trump’s chief economic adviser.
The European and Japanese deals are still in their infancy, however, and may not go as smoothly as the Trump administration’s expectations are. French President Emmanuel Macron went on the record saying that the EU should not sign any trade deals with countries that have not signed up to the Paris Agreement on climate change, with the United States being the most notable non-signee.
While Japan and the EU share the United States’ main issues with China, primarily their use of intellectual property theft and the manner in which they force foreign companies to share their technology, the ease with which Trump has slapped tariffs on countries that he now expects to join him definitely has caused a pause in the other large economies of the world.