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Trumpian Hardball: Nowhere Close to NAFTA Deal but Progress in China

NAFTA negotiations are in jeopardy, but things are progressing better in China. The difference? China strikes back.

U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer says 'Nowhere Near' Close to Nafta Deal.

“The Nafta countries are nowhere near close to a deal,” U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement, citing “gaping differences” on intellectual property, agricultural trade, duty-free levels for shipments, labor rules, and other areas.

All three Nafta countries — Mexico, Canada and the U.S. — had sought to wrap up a deal before the height of the U.S. midterm season and before Mexico’s presidential election on July 1. Ryan, who had originally set Thursday, May 17 as a deadline, sought to offer Lighthizer and his Canadian and Mexican counterparts more time to reach a deal this spring that could still get a vote before a new Congress takes office in January.

In China

In April, Beijing introduced a high tariff on the imports as part of a tit-for-tat trade spat between with the US. But China's commerce ministry has now said the measures affect consumers and are not in the public interest.

The US is the world's leading producer of sorghum, and is the largest supplier of the grain to China. Sorghum is a grain used primarily to feed livestock, but it is also used to create ethanol, or drinking alcohol.

China said a final ruling on whether to continue April's 178.6% tariffs would be made after a further investigation

China Hardball

Chinese hardball with the US resulted in Rotting Cherries, Spoiled Pork, and Ford Car Inspections that required dismantling entire engine assemblies.

Trump pulled back, citing concern over jobs, not in the US, but amazingly in China. For details, please see Trump's pledge to help China's ZTE spurs backlash in Washington.

EU Hardball

China is willing to play hardball with Trump. The EU, Mexico, and Canada are not.

Conclusion

China knows how to play hardball, the EU doesn't. That said, the EU will at some point be forced to respond and the results won't be pretty.

Trump may appear to be winning, but trade wars are lose-lose policies. The longer they linger, the more each side loses.

The difference with China is the US has already backpedaled.

However, it may not last. Trump has been known to change his mind.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Even as an American it's refreshing to see people push back against us. The unipolar world has made us arrogant, fat, and lazy for too long. Dumb ideas should be punished and China seems to have the backbone to return fire, unlike the amazingly obsequious Euros!

As a hwp hard working american I would like to see the USA tell China to go fuck themselves. They have abused their trading status mainly by stealing IP and forcing foreign companies to allow their govt to become an equal business partner. I could care less about them subsidizing their own companies but the other issues should have been addressed a long time ago. Neither our govt or the companies doing business in China should have
agreed to these terms. Probably because of corruption and greed they agreed. Its refreshing to see the US put a stop to this. China will ulitmately collapse as no centrally planned communist economic system in history has survived or prospered. They are a ponzi scheme fueled by debt.

As always, I agree with Mish that trade disputes or trade wars are lose-lose. Telling your trade partners to go f themselves is sheer stupidity.

It's always a good idea to not stand up for what is right. Appeasement is always a winning strategy. I am so sorry that I used the f word. I didn't mean to offend your high sensibilities. I would be happy to send you a coloring book, crayons and a pink hat so you can curl up in your safe space.

But our companies DID agree to the Chinese terms of their own volition. Nobody put guns to their heads to start doing business there. You're telling corporate America that you know what's best for them, regardless of their motives.

China is, in many ways, a ponzi scheme fueled by debt, but do you seriously think we aren't?

Your whole reasoning in this scenario doesn't work. If we're motived by greed and corruption to the point of our own destruction, then why defend such a horrible USA? If their motives are better than that, then you're simply wrong about them. It's lose/lose for you.

My gosh your arguments are irrefutable. When will you be going home to your mother country China?

You always seem to come across as an unthinking jingoist who rarely agrees with anyone here, including Mish. The real question is why you show up, there must be countless MSM sites more to your liking.

Wow I am devastated by that remark. you always come across as vehemently anti-American
I know you don't like differing opinions on this board as it violates the protocol in your mother country we must all go along with the thought leader otherwise risk punishment by Big Brother. As it is in China. Do you think your country will suffer a different fate than any other centrally planned communist regime

Someday you'll figure out that our leaders only invoke patriotism for the optics. That's true in the US and China, and just about everywhere else. Trump cares no more about you and me than Xi cares about a random farmer out in Xinjiang. It's comical how you lament corruption and greed in both our public and private sectors upthread, yet cannot see this.

Why do you assume I can't be an American? I am, and the fact that some of us gasp have differing opinions is something you'll have to grok eventually. Maybe I'm tired of destructive policies that only benefit a tiny fraction of people, and even more tired of the dumb flag wavers that enable them.

What the others were trying to say is that your comment adds nothing to the conversation. BTW, don't you love the sweet sweet deal your president just gave to poor ZTE (despite being one of the biggest IT thief arround), I guess a small investment in a Trump Indonesian Golf project is all that is needed. Turns out America is really for sale

What I am trying to say is that your opinion means nothing I will comment if I wish. So how can I put this politely, go fuck yourself

Coloring book is on the way I am sure you already are wearing the pink pussy hat

Hold on minute! There is now a report that China has agreed to reduce the trade imbalance by increasing imports from the US -- expanding trade, and doing all the good things free traders claim from genuine reciprocal free trade. Maybe what we are learning is that the concept of unilateral free trade is foolish; and that mercantilist China can be persuaded to reduce its one-sided barriers to trade.

Hold on minute! There is now a report that China has agreed to reduce the trade imbalance by increasing imports from the US -- expanding trade, and doing all the good things free traders claim from genuine reciprocal free trade. Maybe what we are learning is that the concept of unilateral free trade is foolish; and that mercantilist China can be persuaded to reduce its one-sided barriers to trade.
Hold on! There is now a report that China has agreed to reduce the unsustainable trade imbalance by increasing imports from the US. Maybe we are learning that a mercantilist power like China can be persuaded to reduce its tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade? Maybe there should be no rush to judgement on President Trump's negotiating tactics.

Exactly the point I was trying to make until everyone went apeshit because I used the f word against their motherland. We should at least make a concerted effort against unfair trade practices like stealing IP and forced govt partnership. All this is against WTO rules and I don't see why they weren't called on the carpet way earlier. Govt industry subsidies are something all countries engage in and we have no basis to call them out on that.

HMK,

        Thats very generous of you giving your crayons and coloring book to someone else .... how will you fill your time now?

Stories