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1. Damian Paletta is White House economic policy reporter for The Washington Post. Before joining The Post, he covered the White House for the Wall Street Journal.|
David J. Lynch joined The Washington Post in November 2017 from the Financial Times, where he covered white-collar crime. He was previously the cybersecurity editor at Politico and a senior writer with Bloomberg News, focusing on the intersection of politics and economics. Earlier, he followed the global economy for USA Today, where he was the founding bureau chief in both London and Beijing.
The following are excerpts from an article by Damian Paletta and David J. Lynch dated September 13, 2018 under the headline "Trump confirms new talks in U.S.-China trade war, but makes new threat against Beijing".
President Trump on Thursday cast doubt on the possibility of a breakthrough in trade talks with China, saying he was prepared to hammer China’s economy with tough new economic penalties if Beijing doesn’t offer concessions.
“We are under no pressure to make a deal with China,” Trump wrote on Twitter, trying to dispute reports that he was seeking to cut a deal. “They are under pressure to make a deal with us. Our markets are surging, theirs are collapsing. We will soon be taking Billions in Tariffs & making products at home. If we meet, we meet?”
The Twitter post came after White House officials confirmed that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had offered a formal invitation to Chinese leaders to restart trade talks, aimed at de-escalating the trade battle between the world’s largest economies.
Trump’s Twitter post is consistent with his recent bravado toward China, but it could make Chinese leaders dubious that Trump will be willing to negotiate a deal. Talks between both countries have already broken down several times, at least once because Trump balked at a deal at the last moment.
On Wednesday, White House officials had seemed optimistic at the potential for new talks.
“Well, it’s just an invitation, as far as I know,” White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on Fox Business Network. “There’s some discussions and information that we received that the Chinese Government — the top of the Chinese Government wished to pursue talks.”....
Any talks would resume amid doubts over prospects for a diplomatic settlement. The administration remains split between trade hard-liners and officials who are more sensitive to corporations’ fears of lost sales and disrupted supply chains.
“The question is whether anything has changed,” said Jeff Moon, a former U.S. trade negotiator in the Obama administration. “Who’s in charge on the American side and what do they want?”
Robert Holleyman, former deputy U.S. trade representative, said U.S. demands for fundamental changes in China’s state-directed economy would make for difficult talks.
“We are a long way from finding a solution,” said Holleyman, a partner at Crowell & Moring. “And a solution will require some tough choices, especially on the part of China.”...
The White House is under enormous pressure from U.S. companies to resolve its differences with China swiftly before either country imposes more tariffs or restrictions that these firms argue could hurt growth and lead to lost American jobs....
Separate rounds of talks between the White House and Chinese leaders have already faltered. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tried to cut a deal with Chinese leaders last year, but it was rejected by Trump at the last moment, leading to the escalation this year..... (End excerpts)
2. Let us examine some interesting points of Trump's tweet. The most interesting is this:
(a) Our markets are surging, theirs are collapsing.
Once again, Trump is trying to portray China as an adversary on the ropes, with a falling stock market, sliding currency and slowing economy.
As is generally known, a stock market is an ecosystem where big fish eat small fish. Stock markets have become casinos as their revenues largely depend on the speculation of traders. Trump should know the performance of a stock market does not reflect the true economic situation of a country. Trump is using his favourite psychological tactics against his adversary by overstating the apparent good performance of the US stock markets and exaggerating the adverse performance of their Chinese counterparts.
(b) We are under no pressure to make a deal with China, they are under pressure to make a deal with us.
What trump implies in the above point is:
We are under pressure? What a joke! It’s China which should come to announce its surrender at the negotiation table. How can anyone ever hope to beat the Almighty Trump?
(c) We will soon be taking in Billions in Tariffs & making products at home.
After casting doubt on the possibility of a breakthrough in trade talks with China, Trump is making new threat, saying he was prepared to hammer China’s economy with tough new economic penalties if Beijing doesn’t offer concessions. As usual, prior to any negotiation, he issues a lot of threats and intimidations in the hope that his opponent will be frightened to submission if not death.
Even though the failed businessman-turned-political leader had bankrupted four of his own companies, he always portrays himself as invincible and infallible as a demigod. Like the legendary King Midas who famously wished that everything he touched would turn to gold, Trump always credits himself for all his successes but blames others for all his failures. He has taken much pain to create the myth that he is as almighty as God in winning victory after victory for his supporters and followers.