Changing Time Line Anatomy of Trump's Trade Deal With China

-edited

Trump has changed his tune on a trade deal with China so many times it's hard to count.

  1. In December, Trump gave China 90 days to conclude a deal Otherwise. Trump said he would boost tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from the current 10%.Those 90 days ended March 1.
  2. On December 31, I noted Trump Hails "Big Progress" on Trade Deal With China. I commented "Supposedly there is 'big progress' on a comprehensive trade deal with China. Color me skeptical."
  3. On January 19, I noted China Pledges US Buying Spree to Reduce Trade Surplus With US to Zero By 2024. I commented "In discussions that are not yet public, and will likely be empty promises, sources say China Offers a Path to Eliminate U.S. Trade Imbalance."
  4. On February 22, the Washington Post reported Trump says he expects to meet with China’s Xi and finalize new trade deal but Trump would not rule out extending the deadline beyond March 1.
  5. On February 24, Trump Tweeted there was "substantial progress on intellectual property" and suspended tariffs.
  6. On February 25, I noted Hooray! "Substantial" Progress With China (Just Don't Ask Where) in response to Trump's Tweets.
  7. At the end of February, Trump expected a small delay in signing.
  8. On March 2, I noted Trump Assails WTO "Straitjacket", Attempts Pocket Veto of Entire Organization.
  9. On March 12, the Washington Post stated U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee “Our hope is that we are in the final weeks” of negotiations. However, Schumer said on the Senate floor, “It is abundantly clear that China is playing us.”
  10. On March 13, Trump stated that he is in No Rush to Complete China Trade Deal. “I think things are going along very well - we’ll just see what the date is,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Drum Roll Please. ......

Today, Bloomberg reports China and U.S. to Push Back Trump-Xi Meeting to at Least April

The key words here are "at least" April. Lighthizer warned ‘major issues’ remained outstanding in talks.

90 Days Till Who Knows When

We have gone from the certainty of "90 days or else" to canceled tariffs and who knows when.

As I said at the outset, there will be a deal, just don't expect much substance to it or for China to honor it if there is.

Meanwhile, I am sure a pause in Tariffs and a delay in the deal suits China just fine.

For the record, I think the pause in tariffs is a good thing because tariffs are a bad idea in the first place. US farmers were getting killed by China's retaliations.

Any deal that eliminates tariffs and retaliations will be a good thing, even if it otherwise accomplishes nothing.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments
No. 1-10
Realist
Realist

I fully agree with your analysis Mish.

Liberaldisdain
Liberaldisdain

I would suggest that any deal, no matter how effective long term, is better than the deal we have now.

JonSellers
JonSellers

No deal and the tariffs removed mean China won. Well, at least we got the wall! Oh wait, Mexico won too. And I understand Trump wants to cut Medicare. So even the swamp won. 4th degree chess indeed.

stillCJ
stillCJ

Editor

Trump has said his main priority is to get China to agree to quit stealing American technology, and that would include an enforcement mechanism. That is why the "trade" talks are so difficult: because that is the last thing China wants. I give Trump a lot of credit for taking on this very difficult and necessary task which all previous presidents have ignored. Mish, you know as well as I do that the technology theft issue needs to be addressed, but you don't like the way Donald is doing it. SO, what is your strategy to accomplish that? Criticism is easy; solutions - not so much.

Mish
Mish

Editor

Tariffs don't work. by now that should be obvious. I already gave my solution. If companies are so concerned over theft, they don't have to move their operations to China. If they are willing to take the risks, do we need govt enforcement?