China isn’t living up to its commitments under the “Phase 1” trade deal it signed with Trump in early January. It’s time for Trump to call China on the carpet. Here are the year-to-date results through March (released by the Commerce Department on Tuesday): Phase 1 China Trade Deal 2020 YTD.
China’s imports of goods in March were the best of the year so far, but that isn’t saying much. Once again, their imports didn’t even come close to the 2017 baseline, much less the goals set in the Phase 1 trade deal. One might be tempted to cut China some slack because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, even if people are locked up in their homes, they still have to eat. And Chinese imports of agriculture products are the weakest of the four categories of goods, and are consistent with their weak imports of the other goods categories.
At a minimum, Trump needs to give China a stern warning that if their imports don’t rise to meet goals by the end of June – halfway through 2020 – then the deal is off and all U.S. imports from China will be subject to the 25% tariff. This is yet another example of China playing the U.S. for fools, as it has done for two decades. The U.S. should never again engage in any trade negotiations with China. Tariffs are the only thing they understand and they need to be increased until a balance of trade with China is achieved.