In 2016, the U.S. trade deficit with China was $347 billion. The deficit in manufactured goods was $372 billion. China accounts for over half of the total U.S. trade deficit. The deficit with China is responsible for the loss of five million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and for the downward spiral in Americans’ standard of living.
Throughout the campaign, Trump promised to impose tariffs of up to 45% on Chinese goods to restore a balance of trade. It’s one of the key reasons he was elected. In his inaugural address, Trump declared:
“These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
“Right here and right now.” Yet, four months into his administration, details of his plans for trade with China are beginning to emerge, as reported in this Reuters article.
The United States and China have agreed to take action by mid-July to increase access for U.S. financial firms and expand trade in beef and chicken among other steps as part of Washington’s drive to cut its trade deficit with Beijing.
That’s it?!?!?!? Beef and chicken!?!?!?!? So instead of “right here and right now,” what we get instead is that, six months into his administration, we might be able to sell China a few more hamburgers? And what do we get in return? Chicken imports. Who in their right minds would eat chicken imported from China? We can’t even feed our pets dog food from China for fear that it’ll kill them, which has actually happened. And we supposedly got some cooperation from China in reining in North Korea. Doesn’t Trump realize that China and North Korea work together to blunt any action on trade? Maybe that’s what we need – some puppet state to develop nuclear weapons to threaten China. Then we can agree to pull in on their reins if China will just agree to some heavy tariffs.
What will the next 100 days of negotiations yield? A side order of fries?
As has always happened following trade negotiations with the U.S., Chinese President Xi must have been rolling in the aisle with laughter on his plane ride home from Mar-a-Lago. Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were played for total fools. This is beyond pathetic. It’s an insult to Trump’s supporters and all American workers.
“This will help us to bring down the deficit for sure,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at media briefing in Washington. “You watch and you’ll see.”
Oh, we’re watching, Wilbur, and I already know what we’ll see. Nothing. The trade deficit with China will, if anything, get worse. America’s been suckered yet again.