What Trump really gets from his deal with China

It will boost it as one of the great advances in history, but in a true Trumpian style, the trade pact that the president is expected to sign today with China has more flash than background. And as Donna Borak of CNN reports, almost no one in Washington outside his administration has seen it yet.

The agreement stops the trade war, and seems to open more Chinese markets and commit Beijing to buy $ 200 billion in US agricultural, automotive, manufacturing and aviation products. And Trump will maintain many tariffs on Chinese imports.

But China did not give ground to the issues that matter most to it, such as the United States’ demands for cuts to state subsidies that would force it to fundamentally rebuild its economic system. Trump also removed the US designation that Beijing is a currency manipulator. No one knows if China will keep promises like buying tons more of American products and protecting intellectual property rights.
Given the fairly incremental gains after months of commercial trench warfare, and the cost to US consumers, manufactures and farmers. UU., Who needed a ransom of $ 28 billion, the question must be asked: what did Trump win?

He won a political victory by polishing his mythology as a negotiator and confronting China. So what happens if this agreement, like others that renegotiated with Canada, Mexico and South Korea, does not change much? Trump will announce it in the campaign and ignore the reality that it is not really so good at closing political agreements.

No one thinks that this agreement is a permanent peace. By reaching the old tariff coup, the United States may have accelerated the collapse of the global free trade consensus. It also went from almost 50 years of trying to encourage and manage the rise of China, to a total confrontation: China and the United States may have crossed a threshold that could cause them to begin decoupling their economies and supply chains, a process that could trigger global shock waves.


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