Trade

An inflection point in U.S.-China relations

Featured image Michael Auslin, an Asia expert at the Hoover Institution, examines what I consider the most important foreign policy issue of our time — U.S. relations with China. Auslin believes this may be “crunch time” for these relations. Auslin is happy with President Trump’s China policy so far: The Trump administration’s full-court press against China is going strong, buttressed by a dramatic shift in opinion among the foreign-policy community, now increasingly »

Good news: China is nervous

Featured image The New York Times reports that China’s leader, Xi Jinping, abruptly summoned hundreds of officials to Beijing recently. He did so, says the Times, in order to convey a sense of “anxious urgency.” The Communist Party, Xi told the officials, faces major risks on all fronts and must batten down the hatches. “Globally, sources of turmoil and points of risk are multiplying,” [Xi] told the gathering in January at the »

Trump’s pivot to Asia

Featured image Michael Auslin of the Hoover Institution commends President Trump for his pivot to Asia. He says it’s “shaping up to be more substantive and potentially transformative than the one the Obama Administration regularly touted.” That’s a low bar. However, there is, indeed, much to like about Trump’s pivot. As Auslin says: Trump. . .has begun by blowing up past practice, specifically in no longer pretending China is a fair trading »

CNN does TPP

Featured image In a mock wistful tone, CNN reports that the TPP trade agreement is going into effect without the participation of the U.S.: A major 11-country agreement goes into effect Sunday, reshaping trade rules among economic powerhouses like Japan, Canada, Mexico and Australia — but the United States won’t be a part of it. That means that Welch’s grape juice, Tyson’s pork and California almonds will remain subject to tariffs in »

China’s slumping economy adds new dimension to trade war

Featured image There’s good news and bad news from China. It’s the same news: China’s economy is slowing. China’s retail sales are growing at the slowest rate in 15 years. Industrial production reportedly is slumping too. Forecasts are for reduced economic growth. This year, reported growth will be around 6.6 percent. The forecast for next year is 6 percent, and many are now wondering whether it will reach that mark. The case »

Trump vs. General Motors

Featured image I doubt that Robert Mueller poses an existential threat to the Trump presidency. He may pose some threat, but American manufacturers pursuing their economic interests may pose a greater one. The decision by General Motors to shut down several plants in the U.S. and to cut up to 15,000 jobs illustrates the threat. The impact of GM’s decision will be felt most acutely in the industrial Midwest, including states that »

Has Trump driven Japan closer to China?

Featured image Late last month, Japanese Prime Minister Abe visited Beijing. His visit nailed down multibillion-dollar trade deals and promises further to strengthen relations between the two Asian giants. “From competition to coexistence, Japanese and Chinese bilateral relations have entered a new phase,” Abe declared. “With President Xi Jinping, I would like to carve out a new era for China and Japan.” This was a marked contrast to Abe’s 2014 trip to »

Only Trump Can Go to China (and Smack Them in the Head)?

Featured image I don’t know why the stock market is suddenly having a case of the vapors. It could be the conventional explanations of the Fed slowly tightening, and/or the market is undergoing an entirely ordinary correction from rising too far too fast. The global economy is showing signs of slowing. Or it could be partially the ongoing uncertainty about Trump’s trade policy. I confess to remaining very nervous about Trump’s tariff »

Trade-Offs

Featured image There is other news happening right now aside from the Kavanaugh matter and the upcoming elections. Like the last minute deal with Canada to restructure NAFTA. Looks pretty clear that Canada blinked. No less a grandee than Walter Russell Mead says that Trump’s trade brinksmanship has been vindicated in this case: The midnight Sunday deal between U.S. and Canadian negotiators was a decisive victory for President Trump’s unconventional approach to »

More Progress On Trade

Featured image Today the U.S. and Mexico announced a revised, potentially bilateral version of NAFTA that makes some of that treaty’s provisions more favorable to the U.S. At the link, the New York Times engages in predictable hand-wringing, in particular over the need for Canada to be part of the deal. You have to read pretty deep to learn any specifics about the agreement: Under the changes agreed to by Mexico and »

The News You Didn’t Hear This Week

Featured image So, President Trump had a terrible week. CNN, and the rest of the prestige press, told us so. It’s only a matter of time before Trump is brought down. A crisis of the regime is imminent. You can tell things are serious because the stock market . . . hit a record high! Strange how, aside from the Cheerleaders of the Tape at CNBC, we heard so little about this »

Is Trump Winning Again?

Featured image Back in June Paul and I both noted the view of economist Irwin Stelzer, who is no fan of Trump, that Trump might in fact win a trade war with China, because Trump has the better poker hand. And I concluded, “File this one away for further reference.” Well lookie here, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today: U.S., China Plot Road Map to Resolve Trade Dispute »

Winning the Trade War With China?

Featured image I have viewed it more as a trade skirmish, perhaps because I am looking at it from an American perspective. Don Surber says that it looks quite different from a Chinese point of view: To find the news, I read the South China Morning Post, which is worried spitless that the Red Chinese economy will tank like its stock market has. (Its stocks overall have declined in value by 40% »

Trade wars: Easy to claim victory in, not so easy to win

Featured image Ramesh Ponnuru checks in the trade war. He disagrees with President Trump that America is winning. Ponnuru doesn’t see victory in the EU’s promise to talk with the U.S. about eliminating tariffs: Trump episodically claims that he wants zero trade barriers all around, and it’s a good thing that we’re going to have talks with the EU about liberalization. But we didn’t need to place tariffs on steel and aluminum, »

Trump Makes a Deal

Featured image I have argued repeatedly that talk of a trade war is vastly overblown. It seems obvious that President Trump has properly staked out positions in defense of American interests with several trading partners, including the European Union, Mexico and China. His purpose is not to ignite a trade war, if such can be avoided, but rather to negotiate fairer and more favorable terms. That view was vindicated today, as to »

Thoughts on Trade

Featured image The Dow Jones has shed nearly 1,000 points over the last couple weeks, ostensibly over fears of an escalation of trade tensions between Trump and our major trading partners, some of whom have begun imposing retaliatory tariffs of their own. (Though who really can say exactly what moves the stock market on any given day or week—talk about fake news). Trade wars seldom work out very well, but if anyone »

Trump Nails Trade Hypocrisy

Featured image President Trump’s participation in the G7 conference in Canada focused on trade. Once again, he made it clear that he wants our trading partners’ tariffs and other barriers to U.S. imports to come down. This gave the American press the vapors, but why? Our president certainly should try to reduce obstacles to sales of American goods. President Trump gave a press conference this morning in which he expressed his belief »