Trump Gets Cold Feet on More Tariffs: US Proposes More Talks With China

Mike Mish Shedlock

After numerous pompous threats made on China, Trump may be ready to back down.

The Wall Street Journal reports U.S. Proposing New Round of Trade Talks With China.

>The Trump administration is giving Beijing another chance to try to stave off new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese exports, asking top officials for a fresh round of trade talks later this month, people briefed on the matter said.

>The invitation from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin comes as some Trump officials said they sense a new vulnerabilityand possibly more flexibilityamong Chinese officials pressured by U.S. tariffs imposed earlier this year and threats for more.

>It also follows a steady rise in political pressure on President Trump to ease up on trade fightswhich have pinched consumers and prompted painful retaliation against U.S. exportsahead of November elections in which his Republican Party risks losing congressional control.

Sense of Flexibility? Where?

The preceding two paragraphs could theoretically be true, but I propose the first isn't.

There is no new vulnerability in China. There is however a Beige Book report that shows rising concerns about tariffs in all 12 Fed districts.

The Trump administration is scared sh*tless over the mid-term elections, and rightfully so. I expect Republicans will lose the House. They could even lose the Senate if tariff blowbacks are strong enough.

Then what? Who knows?

I did not expect this flip-flop, and it's hard to say if it even is a flip-flop that will last more than a week, if even a day.

Once the mid-term elections are out of the way, will Trump abandon any deal he makes with China (assuming he makes one)?

That question has to be on China's mind. And as I have noted before, everyone now understands Trumps alleged "Art of the Deal" and is playing the same game.

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Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (17)
No. 1-12

DC badly needs the cash,they're broke!Deficits runnin 200 billion a month and adding 15-20 billion every month in fresh red ink,he's wants to continue the obama regime policies of massively growing gov't,massive growing dept,massive growin deficits!


Tariffs are being over stated wildly besides we need the money to cover the cost of China meddling in the November election as china wants you to vote liberal democrat to open free trade status and borders. Oh and so does google, amazon, apple and most major medialower case intended.


I guess true believers keep seeing signs everywhere that -- Finally! -- the dawn is breaking. The rest of us see the normal to & fro of real world negotiations.

We are into political advertising season ahead of the mid-term elections. Judging by the content of the ads, it seems that Democrat internal polling and focus groups show zero interest on the part of the general public in opposing tariffs. In fact the main focus of Democrat ads in my area is how they are going to attract industry and create jobs. Outside of "Crony Capitalist" circles, there does not seem to be much pressure on the Administration to bend over and return to the status ante on trade.


My guess is that Trump (and the GOP) wants to delay the full barrage of tariffs until after the midterm elections. The GOP desperately needs the markets to be at all time highs and the economy (and its outlook) as pumped as possible. Control of congress is at stake and I'm betting that everything is going to be glowing between now and the first Tuesday in November.


If Republicans will lose the House it will be because INCOMPETENT AG Jeff Sessions ordered multiplying several times the amount of kids separated from their parents at the border from Obama years because Sessions ordered ALL kids to be separated from their parents at the border so Families would not have to be released to disappear inside USA in the 20 days that Flores ruling states families with kids should be released.

It took minimum 40 days to have the asylum hearing so in effect Flores ruling and it's revised interpretation under Obama led all families with kids being released to disappear inside USA and 99% did NOT come to their asylum hearing. Obama also made a mockery of the initial credible fear interview because Obama loosened the rules so that claims of spousal abuse or claims of gang threats passed the credible fear stage so everyone was given the time for their asylum hearing and then all families with kids were released after 20 days to disappear inside USA.

Jeff Sessions made many fixes to these like changing rules so claims of spousal abuse or claims of gang threats no longer passed the credible fear stage so people would not have to be always given asylum hearings and instead could be returned back home. However Kansas Republican Kevin Yoder SABOTAGED this Sessions tightening in Appropriations committee by supporting Democrat Price's amendment to REVERSE this Sessions tightening.

Sessions also stopped the catch-and-release for single men and single women that Obama had used where almost everyone was released to disappear inside USA and now single men and single women are kept in detention until their asylum hearing if they pass the credible fear stage. Those who do not pass credible fear stage are returned without asylum hearing.

Sessions is also working on removing the Flores rulings effect of releasing families after 20 days through administrative changes and making it possible for families to be kept together in detention while waiting for their asylum hearings and if this succeeds it is again another small step forward.

However separating all kids from their parents that Sessions used for a while at the border was an INHUMANE policy by Sessions that energized Democrats like no other. Trump was forced to reverse this and stop separations completely except in cases where there is possibility that the "parent" is not really the parent of a kid and in cases where parents are for example trying to smuggle drugs to USA so now the situation is such that more kids were separated at the border under Obama than right now. Obama separated however only older kids and used detention for unaccompanied minors while Sessions stupidly separated all kids from parents.

Sessions tried to fix what Department of Homeland Security had broken. The rush of illegal immigrants coming to the border was created by INCOMPETENT Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen who used US taxpayer funds to purchase ads in Local radio stations all over Central-America including Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua etc. to tell in the ads that people should NOT come to USA and they should come ONLY if they are asking asylum because they need to flee.

This was like Merkel saying that "there is NO LIMIT how many asylum seekers Germany takes" in 2015 because Nielsen's local radio ads put the idea of going to USA and asking for asylum in the heads of lots of people. Then Kirstjen Nielsen also stated in a congressional hearing that people can come to the USA border if they need to flee and want ask for asylum and repeated that it is always possible to ask for asylum at the border and this was reported in Central-America and led to lots of people coming and this continues to this day with August 2018 having most arrivals ever for August.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen are both INCOMPETENT and 'Nielsen is responsible for LURING and ATTRACTING the current flood of migrants to US border and Jeff Sessions is responsible for energizing democrats like no other with his INHUMANE and ill-advised policy of separating ALL kids from their parents at the border that is still energizing democrats and hurting democrats despite Trump having to stop that policy completely with an executive order.

The INCOMPETENCE of both Sessions and Nielsen shows in that apparently NEITHER has even read US asylum law namely 8 U.S. Code § 1158 because if they had READ it and would understand anything about the issue they would have realized that Attorney General has the RIGHT to STOP accepting asylum applications at US border from migrants trying to come to USA and Attorney General has the RIGHT to STOP accepting asylum applications from migrants that have crossed illegally and sneaked to USA and this right of AG is WITHOUT JUDICIAL REVIEW so NO activist Judge can stop it.

Black letter law: "A) Safe third country Paragraph (1) shall not apply to an alien if the Attorney General determines that the alien may be removed, pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement, to a country (other than the country of the aliens nationality or, in the case of an alien having no nationality, the country of the aliens last habitual residence) in which the aliens life or freedom would not be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, and where the alien would have access to a full and fair procedure for determining a claim to asylum or equivalent temporary protection,"

NO judicial review: "(3) Limitation on judicial review No court shall have jurisdiction to review any determination of the Attorney General under paragraph (2)"

USA has a bilateral agreement with Canada where asylum seekers are returned to the first country. NO such bilateral agreement exists with Mexico.

However both USA and Mexico belong to a multilateral agreement called Geneva Convention so AG could STOP accepting asylum applications in US border or inside US based on 8 U.S. Code § 1158 because of Geneva Convention.

According to Geneva Convention: "Article 31 Refugees unlawfully in the country of refugee

  1. The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming DIRECTLY from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence."

So since most asylum seekers come thru Mexico they could be imposed penalties since they do NOT come DIRECTLY from where they claim their life or freedom was threatened.

According to Geneva Convention part 2: "Article 33 Prohibition of expulsion or return (refoulement)

  1. No Contracting State shall expel or return (refouler) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion."

NONE of the asylum seekers coming to USA from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua had their life or freedom threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion in Mexico so according to Geneva Convention EVERYONE coming through Mexico to USA could be either STOPPED at the border or returned back to Mexico once caught inside of USA.

Sessions needs to READ Geneva Convention on refugees and Sessions needs to READ 8 U.S. Code § 1158 and then Sessions needs to use his RIGHT to STOP accepting asylum applications at US border and STOP accepting asylum applications inside USA from illegal immigrants that have sneaked in to USA. There is NO JUDICIAL REVIEW of this right AG has according to 8 U.S. Code § 1158.

Kirstjen Nielsen needs to be FIRED immediately and all Merkel style advertising Kirstjen Nielsen has been running in local radios in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador etc. needs to be STOPPED.


If China were smart, they would throw Trump a bone before the midterms. Maybe agree to increase exports from the US by $10 billion/yr. Trump and the GOP can claim victory and China gets a slap on the wrist. The GOP has more of an incentive to agree now than after the midterms. And if the house goes democrat, we'll be in for 2 years of lame duck governance.


The tariffs are a bad strategy for trump. not only does he risk losing chinese cooperation on north korea but he risks hurting american companies in the back-lash and causing consumers in the u.s. to pay higher prices. Republicans will stand with Trump on many things but tariffs are not really one of those items.

Farmers are still upset with Trump over their lost sales.

Also... Delaying tariffs keeps the inventory building going until mid-terms which props the GDP reported numbers and the markets. If he enacted the tariffs today, the inventory draw down would begin and reported GDP numbers might hit the news prior to the elections.

mpowerOR the hysteria over tariff/trade rhetoric continues.

Relax. It's all just a big show/bluff. And it's working.


The classic alligator mouth on a canary's posterior.

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