Trump Surrenders In Trade War

So far there’s been one clear winner in Trump’s trade war with China – grain storage companies. With grain supplies piling up all over the country the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this summer had to modify its standard contract storage rates for grain from 5 to 8 cents per bushel. Unsold grain is being crammed into every available space, even idle barges. Winning a trade war is easy.

Meanwhile the losses have spread all over the country. Both Ford and GM announced major downsizing plans tied to Trump’s ruinous tariffs. Small manufacturers are under serious pressure from rising materials costs. A handful of new expansions have been announced, but negative impacts have been severe. The stock market erased all of the year’s gains.

Over the weekend at the G20 Summit in Argentina, Trump had a brief conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Afterward, in true “Mission Accomplished” style, he announced a series of Chinese concessions backed by no evidence but his own tweets. According to the Donald, China is going to remove tariffs on our automobiles, start buying our grain again, and place new restrictions on the production of the drug fentanyl. 

In exchange for these promises, Trump agreed to delay the imposition of the next round of increased tariffs until March, pending a formal agreement. That’s right. None of this new greatness is recorded in any written form at all. We received no binding commitments from the Chinese in exchange for Trump’s concession.

As you might expect, the Chinese account of this exchange (using Google Translate) differs substantially from Trump’s tweets, excluding any reference to auto tariffs, buying a bunch of new US products, or basically anything Trump tweeted other then new fentanyl regulations. It’s almost as if none of the Chinese commitments Trump describes were ever made.

Wall Street is thrilled, not because it sees a trade victory in the works, but because they see this exchange for what it is – Trump abandoning another half-baked project. It is clear now that the Trump administration will grant China whatever they want to bring an end to this mess, and dress it up as a victory. The morons who voted for Trump will accept it as proof of his greatness even as their personal losses mount. The Great China Trade War will play out just like the North Korea nuclear negotiations and the re-naming of NAFTA, just another trademark Trump fraud, paid for by his supporters. 

On the bright side, this weekend’s events signal that the Trump trade fiasco, like the Trump administration itself, is nearing its end.

13 Comments

  1. So Cohen has sung, the Second District has now stated that the puppet tyrant has committed felonies, Mueller is very likely to back that up.

    And you know what? It is meaningless.
    This guy and his crew are firewalled by the new AG, SCOTUS, and the Senate.

    But you folks keep going on about how “voting will solve everything”.
    That is, of course, unless you live in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, etc.

    How can you keep believing that this will all work out, without extra-judicial action?

  2. Meantime, the market is crashing, down 800 points, on concerns over where this nightmare is going.

    And all the while, the fascists in North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, entrench their position further. Who needs to worry about little things like elections, when you control gerry-mandered legislatures.

    All the people that talk about “Democracy will win out, just vote”……well, Wisconsin went 54% Dem’s, how is that working out?

    From the NY Times : ” Nationally, Democrats won more than 300 state legislative seats in November, but the party gained only one seat in the Wisconsin State Assembly despite winning 54 percent of the aggregate statewide vote. That leaves Democrats with 36 out of 99 seats. (Since the 2011 redistricting, they have not held more than 39 of 99 seats.) In the State Senate, Democrats actually lost a seat, giving Republicans a 19-14 margin.”

    You want to save democracy? Better accept undemocratic methods to do it.

      1. We want you back, Clint! That plane will likely be a one-way trip….which is fine if the occupant is djt. Heck he can take all the rest of his Russian troglodytes with him and throw in DeVos, et al into first class. (-:

      2. Steve Bannon has been all over Europe pitching his white nationalism. As Chris has noted, those who advocate this belief are fereting out pockets of racism and stoking it.

        ProPublica published a shocking video and story today about the consequences to Sessions last formal deed before exiting his position. We are in for some rough sledding here and boy will there need to be scores of legislative and regulatory changes. This totally relates to the authoritarian model that trump, Rove, Bannon et al are working to install. America’s guardrails are falling off.

        https://www.propublica.org/article/elkhart-who-will-now-police-the-police?utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailynewsletter

  3. Right on! Bloomberg analysis points out that China agreed to reduce tariffs on American cars which costs have been hiked 40% in retaliation for trump’s original tariff on their goods! So, doing the math ….10% off 140% is progress in trumps twisted logic. What a deal!!

    China has been a bad actor for decades and change is needed. Sadly, the farmers and others impacted by trump’s trade grandstanding, are suffering will most likely hew to “trump as savior” while he uses them as pawns in his self- serving game! Pitiful.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-02/u-s-china-trade-truce-side-by-side-comparison-of-statements

    1. “China has been a bad actor for ages and change is needed.”

      Agreed. I would like to see China suffer penalties for engaging in relentless mercantilism. Our naïveté that China would magically become freer and more democratic if we just opened up our markets to them or gave them a nice spot in the WTO is something that has cost us dearly. There was no reciprocity. Xi’s become President for life. The human rights violations have actually gotten worse, and Hong Kong slowly losing its independence.

      Obama’s solution to curtail China was the TPP. It was a secretly-negotiated trade deal that would’ve melded the U.S. into a trade bloc where a free and open Internet would not be guaranteed. A trade agreement where we willingly ignored mass graves and human trafficking in Malaysia just to upgrade their human rights status so they could become a TPP member. A trade agreement with strengthened ISDS, where a company could sue a country for implementing laws and rules that cut into their profits. The TPP as it was back then didn’t go over well with a vast number of people on both left and right, and I’m personally glad that we didn’t join it.

      The change that’s needed to curtail China is to initiate a comprehensive reform of the WTO that ensures that countries who cheat at trade get punished swiftly. Alongside this, get the ball rolling on a multinational trade deal that is transparently-negotiated and puts workers, consumers, and the environment before the whims of large corporations.

      Sources:
      https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/8q879k/tpp-dead-op-ed

      https://www.citizen.org/our-work/globalization-and-trade/trans-pacific-partnership-undermining-human-rights-0

      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131024/11560725004/what-does-isds-mean-corporate-sovereignty-pure-simple.shtml

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