There’s just no other way to describe it. Trump got suckered at the G20 meeting in Argentina. As reported in the above-linked article, Trump agreed to delay any further tariffs on Chinese goods for at least 90 days in exchange for nothing more than the same vague promises China has been making for 20 years.
“China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” it said.
“China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.”
The two leaders also agreed to immediately start talks on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfers, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture, the White House said.
Regarding that last sentence, these are exactly the same promises made by China for the past two decades. It never happens but, every time, the Chinese win yet another delay in the U.S. taking any meaningful action to restore a balance of trade.
Then there’s the Chinese take on the agreement:
“China is willing to increase imports in accordance with the needs of its domestic market and the people’s needs, including marketable products from the United States, to gradually ease the imbalance in two-way trade.”
“The two sides agreed to mutually open their markets, and as China advances a new round of reforms, the United States’ legitimate concerns can be progressively resolved.”
The two sides would “step up negotiations” toward full elimination of all additional tariffs, Wang said.
Note the qualifiers in the first sentence: “… in accordance with the needs of its domestic market and the people’s needs …” and “… marketable products …” In other words, they will do what’s in their own best self-interest, which is to employ their 1.2 billion people in manufacturing for export. What “marketable products” are they talking about? Thanks to China, the U.S. barely manufactures anything any more. Even American consumers can’t find anything made in the U.S. Virtually every single product we buy is labeled “made in China.” The ones that aren’t are labeled “made in Mexico.” Beyond Boeing aircraft and pickup trucks (of which the latter are largely assembled from Chinese and Mexican parts), what else is there? Are we really expected to believe that we soon may see Chinese consumers driving around in Silverados, F-150s and Ram trucks?
It’ll never happen because Chinese consumers, thanks to gross over-crowding in their country, are incapable of consuming even their own domestic output, much less any imports from America. What will it take for American leaders to understand that? Forty-eight years of consecutive trade deficits, including not a single year in which the U.S. had a trade surplus with China, isn’t enough evidence?
I truly don’t understand the weird infatuation that Trump seems to have with communist dictator Xi. He seems to have an almost hypnotic effect on Trump, who gushes praise for Xi after every face-to-face meeting. Beyond Trump, I wish the U.S. would stop attending these G20 meetings. I challenge anyone to cite a single example of how the U.S. has ever emerged from a G20 meeting with anything that has been beneficial to American workers. Clearly, the G20 exists for the sole purpose of devising methods of sucking more blood from the U.S. economy, like a swarm of parasites, stopping just short of killing its host altogether.
For nearly two years, Trump has talked tough about putting America first and about making America great again, and restoring a balance of trade has been the central focus of that effort. But what is there to show for it? America’s trade deficit in manufactured goods has actually accelerated, setting new records month after month.
It appears that Trump is caving in to pressure from farmers and global corporations who are more interested in total global sales volume than in doing what’s necessary to help American workers and to keep the U.S. from financial ruin.
Trump’s failure at the G20 is extremely disappointing and I fear that I may be losing faith.