Trump’s Harebrained Tariffs Strategy
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese imports with more threatened failed to get its ruling authorities to bend to his will — just the opposite.
Beijing remains steadfast. On Friday, its official People’s Daily broadsheet explained while it doesn’t want a trade war, it will wage one with the US to protect its interests.
Its actions back its rhetoric, ready and able to respond as needed to unacceptable Trump regime policies.
The People’s Daily accused the White House of “attacking tactics against China by not only raising tariffs on (its) products, but also sabotaging the global supply chain and blocking the supply chain of technologies and products which threatens the survival of Chinese enterprises” — calling its actions unacceptable “hegemonic behavior…”
When Trump and Xi Jinping meet on the sidelines of the June 28/29 summit in Osaka, Japan, breaking the impasse by getting Xi to bend on trade will be highly unlikely.
If nothing positive happens between now and then, both leaders may not meet. On Thursday, China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng declined to answer a question on if a meeting is planned.
Not meeting for formal talks would show no progress was made toward resolving irreconcilable issues.
According to China Association of International Trade deputy secretary general Li Yong, a “trust deficit” between both countries left talks at an impasse, adding:
The Trump regime’s “weaponized narrative (and) hostile assumptions” complicated things further. Further talks at this time aren’t warranted given the unacceptable state of things, no resolution in prospect.
On Friday, China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Beijing will blacklist what it calls “unreliable” foreign enterprises and individuals, names and further details to be announced ahead.
The step retaliates against unacceptable Trump regime actions against Chinese tech giant Huawei and its affiliates.
Trump opened a new tariff war front, threatening to impose 5% duties on Mexican imports effective June 10, rising to 15% on August 1, 20% on September 1, and 25% on October 1 over what he called “Mexico’s passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion” of Central American asylum seekers.
Tariffs will remain in force as long as the flow of unwanted aliens continues, according to the US trade representative’s office.
Since Trump took office, hundreds of thousands of unwanted aliens were arrested, harshly detained and deported.
His policy is unrelated to protecting national security. It’s all about racial hatred toward unwanted people.
Christians and Jews are welcome, especially from favored nations. Treating them one way, people of color and Muslims another flagrantly violates the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
It grants legal protection to repressed people seeking asylum abroad. The 1980 US Refugee Act established a statutory basis for granting asylum in the US consistent with the 1967 UN Protocol on Refugees.
It removed temporal and geographic restrictions. Unacceptable Trump regime actions countermand them. Refugees, asylum seekers, and others from the wrong countries are unwelcome in DJT’s America.
His immigration policy blocks them from entering the US — notably ones fleeing repressive US-supported regimes in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, three of the world’s most violent nations.
Threatening tariffs on Mexican imports comes as Congress reviews the so-called US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) — NAFTA 2.0.
The Dem-controlled House leadership reportedly rejects the deal unless Big Pharma giveaways are removed, assuring increasingly unaffordable high drug prices.
Voting on the agreement is in limbo until this issue is resolved, Dems using it for political advantage ahead of 2020 elections.
They’re as amenable to high drug prices as Republicans. The Clinton co-presidency pushed for NAFTA’s adoption, responsible for about a million lost manufacturing jobs.
Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), NAFTA on steroids, corporate coup d’etat agreements, giveaways to their interests, including Pharma, provisions of the deals imposing no restraints on high drug prices.
Trump’s earlier pledged support for lower drug prices was all hype with no follow-through. Throughout his tenure, he yielded to Pharma lobbyists, abandoning his promise, falsely claiming “smaller, younger companies” would be harmed.
In May 2018, he said major drug companies will be announcing “massive drug price cuts” voluntarily – with no further elaboration. It never happened.
According to AP News, in January through July last year, “there were 96 price hikes for every cut.” Rising drug prices way exceed inflation.
As for hiking tariffs on Mexican imports, the Office of the US Trade Representative said the country is the second largest exporter of goods to the US after China.
In 2018, its exports totaled nearly $347 billion compared to China’s near-$540 billion. Imposing tariffs on Mexican imports assures retaliation if the issue isn’t resolved.
By letter to Trump, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he wants resolution, not confrontation, adding: The issue “cannot be resolved with taxes or coercive measures.”
He called for Mexican and US officials to discuss how to “reach an agreement for the benefit of both nations.”
GOP Senate Finance Committee chairman Chuck Grassley slammed the move, calling it a “misuse of presidential tariff authority,” adding:
“Trade policy and border security are separate issues. Following through on this threat would seriously jeopardize passage of USMCA.”
Global Trade Watch tweeted the following on the measure, saying: “Let’s be clear. Any #NAFTA 2.0 put before Congress must FIRST:
Remove the #BigPharma giveaways that lock in high drug prices…Improve labor and environmental standards and enforcement to end job outsourcing. Any other attempt is counterproductive.”
Imposition of tariffs hits enterprises and consumers. Trump’s trade war with China assures economic pain if protracted without resolution.
The same goes for imposing tariffs on Mexican imports, a nation not responsible for the flow of Central American refugees.
It Trump keeps using the blunt instrument of tariffs to get his way, he won’t get China to bend to his will.
Targeting Mexico the same way will worsen things, perhaps pushing the US into recession.
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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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