Is The Trump Trade War Over?

Is The Trump Trade War Over?

Probably not, but maybe.

The basic problem is that Trump has long wanted to beat up on other nations in a trade war; but now he is getting impeached, he needs positive news, and the stock markets like words of his making trade deals. So we get his trade deals, but it is all sort of a mess.

So there are two matters here. One involves China, discussed in a new post here by pgl, which I shall comment on later. But my quick take on it is his having made essentially similar proclamations in May, April, and even Dec. 2018. Sure, China will buy lots of US ag products and will respect intellectual property rights.  The number of times the latter has been promised, I have lost count of.  As for the former, well, Trump is still trying to pay off his farmer losers of his trade deals with US taxpayer money.

So, the item not mentioned by pgl, although I know he is knowledgeable on this, is the USMCA, or NAFTA++ whatever number.  The situation with this has become completely absurd. So on the day the House Judiciary committee called for impeachment of Trump, House Speaker Pelosi came out for a modified version of Trump’s USMCA.  Several changes were made, including putting a limit on pharma price protections and a demand for Mexicans to allow union organizing. There were nine other minor changes from the earlier versions. Anyway, it was enough for Pelosi to get the AFL-CIO to support it. She supported it.

So now McConnell and GOPs in the Senate do not support it. They do not like anything the AFL-CIO supports?  Given that Trump wants this, I am really quite mystified.  I do not know what is going on here on this weird Senate opposition to this deal.

Just to review, this deal is mostly just the old NAFTA.  Some of it is an improvement and it needed updating.  Most of the changes in it were simply TPP items that both Canada and Mexico had previolusly agreed to.  This included most of the environmental and labor changes in the deal, which is not a problem for Can and Mex.  Curiously one of the recently revised views by House Dems undoes part of the TPP deal, which involved major protection for US pharma, with this being undone by the Pelosi/House Dems revision.  I am not sure if this  is the item that has McConnell upset or the matter of demanding that Mexico allow more union organizing.

As for the China matter, well, the new statement does not look all that much different from the May, April, and Dec. 18 stateements. Wow. We shall have China respecting US intellectual property rights and will buy lots of US ag products. Some tariffs will be reduced, but not many. The big thing with the tariffs is not that some are being reduced, but that those that were supposed to come on Dec. 15 will not happen. Not much here, and the stock market yesterday barely moved. Trump’s ability to goose up the market with these nearly vacuous pronouncements seems to be coming to an end.

Barkley Rosser