Sino/US War of Words, COVID-19, Economic Collapse, US/China Trade Deal in Jeopardy
In December, China agreed to buy an additional $200 billion worth of US goods and services over 2017 levels in the next two years (in 2020 and 2021).
In return, the Trump regime partially rolled back tariffs on Chinese imports that range from 15% to 25%.
A snapback provision calls for reimposing tariffs in full if Chinese purchases aren’t fulfilled as agreed on.
According to Beijing’s official People’s Daily broadsheet, “(t)he deal covers intellectual property rights, technology transfers, food and agricultural products, financial services, exchange rates and transparency.”
Despite what was agreed on, the toughest bilateral differences remain unresolved, agreement on them perhaps never to be reached because they involve Washington’s aim to undermine China’s economic, industrial, and technological development.
The bilateral deal agreed on came before COVID-19 outbreaks and collapse of global economies occurred.
Given dire current conditions that may likely be protracted, can China buy what it agreed to? The deal did not factor in what’s going on?
It makes fulfillment of the deal highly unlikely despite Trump’s threat to terminate it and reimpose tariffs if Chinese purchases from the US aren’t in amounts agreed on.
In early April, Beijing’s US envoy Cui Tiankai said his government remains committed to the deal.
China’s soft economy and weakened export market reduced its foreign purchases.
Despite being the world’s largest crude oil buyer, Beijing imported half as much oil and other fuels from the US in Q I compared to 2019, far more from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other countries.
According to an unnamed state-operated China National Petroleum Corporation official, the cost of US oil is marginally higher than from other countries.
While China bought large amounts of US agricultural products in Q I, since March they declined sharply.
Weeks earlier, former Chinese Commerce Ministry-linked think tank head Huo Jianguo said it’s “impossible” for Beijing to fulfill agreed on purchases from the US given current conditions that won’t likely improve for some time.
Reportedly, trade negotiators from both countries will discuss the status of the bilateral deal by phone next week, their first official contact since January.
Through April, Chinese exports to and imports from the US are down significantly because of current conditions.
If little or no economic improvement occurs in the coming months, what’s most likely, will Trump scrap the trade deal?
Will he reimpose tariffs, making strained economic and political relations with China worse, harming the US economy at the same time?
His tenure has been marked by bad domestic and geopolitical decision-making.
His war on China by other means threatens to rupture relations already greatly strained.
He surrounded himself with a cadre of extremists and individuals unqualified figures for the positions they hold — notably in dealing with the current public health and economic crisis.
Last year, UK envoy to Washington Kim Darrock called Trump’s White House “dysfunctional,” labeling him “inept” and “incompetent,” warning that his regime could collapse in “disgrace” — remarks coming from a leaked cable.
At the time, a UK Foreign Office statement said “(t)he British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country.”
His pressure, bullying, threats, and intimidating tactics alienate allies and adversaries alike.
At least four bankruptcies revealed a failed businessman.
Former Trump Organization executive Barbara Res said he wasn’t a great dealmaker…He’s never responsible. It is always someone else’s fault.”
According to Trump’s 1987 “Art of the Deal” ghostwriter Tony Schwartz, “most of the deals in the book were failures,” adding:
“And the number of deals he’s made over the years since then have overwhelmingly been failures.” He’s “one of the worst” dealmakers Schwartz ever came across.
He bungled relations with other countries, bungled domestic policies, bungled his handling of the ongoing public health crisis and economic collapse.
He’s close to rupturing relations with China.
Will he try distracting attention from dire economic hard times by starting another war — a wag the dog reelection campaign strategy?
He manages to fool diehards most of the time, others some of the time.
The harder and more protracted hard times get, the less able he’ll likely be to fool a majority and win enough support for a second term.
Honest historians will likely remember him as corrosive, narcissistic, and racist, an enemy of the earth, and a belligerent opposed to peace.
He’s a failed president, bombastic and brazenly opposed to what public service is supposed to be, indifferent toward public health and welfare, inept and incompetent on the job, a disgrace to the office he holds.
He flagrantly breached every consumer-friendly promise he made from day one in office.
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader predicted he’d be a one-term president in 2018.
Calling him “so ignorant that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, (he’s) destroying norms and conventions of a sane society.”
He exceeds the worst of his hardline predecessors.
He’s “a clear and imminent danger not just to the American people, but to the world,” said Nader.
My two Wall Street books are timely reading:
“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”
“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”