Thursday, 18 April, 2019

Pompeo says Trump will walk if China trade deal isn’t ideal: interview

Senior White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington Senior White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington
Leonard Rios | 06 March, 2019, 08:44

The U.S. and China are reportedly getting closer to inking a trade deal.

US and Chinese officials "have conducted fruitful and intensive consultations and made important progress on many issues of common concern", Zhang Yesui, a spokesman for the National People's Congress, the annual session of China's legislature, told reporters in Beijing on Monday. After accounting for the impact of higher tariff revenue and the benefits of higher prices to domestic producers the study found the aggregate annual loss for the USA economy fell to $6.4 billion, or 0.03 percent of GDP.

Farmers are a key constituency for Trump's Republican Party, and the US president's trade war with China has had a heavy impact on them.

Beijing would also step up purchases of USA goods-a tactic created to appeal to President Trump, who campaigned on closing the bilateral trade deficit with China. This is technically correct because tariff revenue does flow into the U.S. Treasury, but the billions generated by the trade war has not slowed the growth of the federal budget defict.

Reports cited by USA media indicate that both nations are close to a trade agreement which would increase US tariffs on Chinese products in exchange for Beijing making several economic promises.

On Sunday, March 3, The New York Times reported that the Trump administration and China are nearing a deal to "roll back tariffs on both sides of the Pacific". But that doesn't mean the trade war ends.

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"We will continue to call on China to end these counterproductive policies, free all those arbitrarily detained, and cease efforts to coerce members of its Muslim minority groups residing overseas to return to China to face an uncertain fate", she said.

Trendmacro CEO Donald Luskin says President Trump's optimistic approach towards a U.S-China trade resolution is helping the markets. The U.S. wants to continue to wield the threat of tariffs as leverage to ensure China won't renege on the deal, and only lift the duties fully when Beijing implemented all parts of the agreement.

It added that oil, liquefied natural gas and other energy products would likely have the biggest potential to fuel U.S. export growth to China under such an agreement.

"China and the United States reaching a mutually-beneficial, win-win agreement as soon as possible is not only good for the two countries, but is also good news for the world economy", said Guo Weimin, spokesman for the high profile but largely ceremonial advisory body to China's parliament.

The study by Goldberg, Pablo Fajgelbaum of UCLA, Patrick Kennedy of the University of California, Berkeley, and Amit Khandelwal of Columbia also found that consumers and US companies were paying most of the costs of the tariffs. Specifically, China would buy US$18 billion in natural gas from Houston-based Cheniere Energy Inc., one of the people familiar with the matter said.

An economic white paper is unlikely to sway Trump's opinion about tariffs-he's the Tariff Man, after all-but this analysis is the most comprehensive summary yet of the ongoing costs of the White House's misguided protectionism.

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