President Trump must have read his own book: The Art of the Deal. He is skillfully applying its lessons in the closing months of his trade negotiation with China.
Just as the talks enter what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin calls the “final laps,” Trump ups the pressure to be sure there is no talk of giving away potential concessions by renegotiation.
The current state of play is that China is paying a 25% tariff on $50 billion of exports to the US and a 10% tariff on a further $200 billion.
Trump plans to raise all the tariffs to 25% by the end of the week and will “shortly” impose them on $325 billion of exports not now subject to any tariff — a body blow to China’s economy.
With a GDP of $12.5 trillion, China cannot contemplate with equanimity almost $600 billion in sanctions.
Meanwhile, the US economy is soaring without any evidence of headwinds from the tariffs. China and its allies have even failed to spook the stock market.
Don’t worry. Trump likely won’t have to impose the tariffs. He is imposing them at the eleventh hour to wring the final concessions from Beijing. China has never faced such a canny and effective adversary as Donald Trump and they don’t know what to make of him.
And don’t think that Trump’s tough stands in the trade talks aren’t also effecting Chinese and Russian conduct in Syria, North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela. All over the globe, our enemies are getting the message: Don’t mess with Trump!
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