Even Trump Allies Fear China Is Out-Negotiating US

But president touts progress and criticizes Democrats for doing 'nothing' for years
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2018 8:41 AM CDT
Trade War With China 'On Hold,' but Trump Allies Are Leery
In this Nov. 9, 2017, file photo, President Trump, chats with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

President Trump on Monday made the case that his White House is righting years of wrong in regard to China. Beijing "has agreed to buy massive amounts of ADDITIONAL Farm/Agricultural Products - would be one of the best things to happen to our farmers in many years!" he wrote. "On China, Barriers and Tariffs to come down for first time," went another. And a third took aim at Democrats. "I ask Senator Chuck Schumer, why didn’t President Obama & the Democrats do something about Trade with China, including Theft of Intellectual Property etc.? They did NOTHING! With that being said, Chuck & I have long agreed on this issue! Fair Trade, plus, with China will happen!" The tweets follow days of negotiations between the two nations, though even some of Trump's supporters are worried that China is getting the upper hand. Details:

  • Dueling statements: Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that the US was "putting the trade war on hold" and ditching the idea of tariffs while talks continue. However, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer made a point to say that tariffs were still an important tool to “protect our technology.” The Wall Street Journal sees these as "markedly different positions," adding that the statements punctuate days of negotiations "with a question mark."

  • China winning? An analysis by Heather Long at the Washington Post asserts that China is winning the trade fight, at least so far. The White House, for example, has been demanding that China reduce the United States' trade deficit with Beijing by at least $200 billion, but no such specifics were evident in a "noticeably vague" joint statement issued by the nations over the weekend. Also, China may have agreed to buy more US energy and farm products, "but it was almost certain that the Chinese were going to buy more of that stuff anyway."
  • Criticism: Business Insider rounds up criticism of the weekend developments from Trump allies including Lou Dobbs of Fox Business ("US must export like a superpower not an agrarian developing nation half our size!" he wrote) and former steel industry CEO Dan DiMicco ("Did #President just blink?" he wrote. "China & friends appear 2 be carrying the day.") Meanwhile, Marco Rubio states flatly that China "is winning the negotiations."
  • What's next: With the trade war "on hold," CNNMoney looks at the big questions still to be answered in ongoing talks, including whether Beijing will seriously address US allegations of technology theft.
  • Biggest threat? A post at Axios argues that China is "thinking long term" with a global strategy, unlike the US. "China is pouring time, money, infrastructure and trade into every continent, after promising to fill the global void created by Trump’s America First," writes Jim VandeHei, who also faults Congress for having short-term vision. Xi Jinping is positioning China to dominate most of the world's important industries in the decade to come.
(More US-China relations stories.)

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