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Will Trump’s ‘art of the deal’ work with China?

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On Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump warned Beijing that if there is no trade deal with China this week, the 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of imports from China would go up to 25 percent on Friday and that a 25 percent tariff would be imposed “shortly” on $325 billion additional goods, tweeting, “The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly.”

Trump tweeted this just a few days after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin returned from a brief trip to Beijing. It was also just a few days before the Chinese negotiating team, led by Vice Premier Liu He, would visit Washington leading a delegation of more than 100 officials.

China immediately reacted. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that China is considering canceling Li He’s planned trip, reportedly because “Beijing was surprised” by Trump’s tweets and “doesn’t want to negotiate under threat.” Seen from Tokyo, I say Trump and Xi will have to pay their own prices!

Will Liu go to Washington as scheduled? As of Monday night when I wrote this, I strongly doubted it. Was Trump’s threat an effective negotiating tactics to win additional concessions from China? Hardly. Can the U.S. and China make a trade deal in the near future? Probably not.

According to The New York Times, a possible U.S.-China trade deal could include:

An additional commitment by China to strengthen its protection of intellectual property.


© The Japan Times