Trump aims trade offensive solely to China, renews truce with EU

Last Monday 10 September Cecilia Malmström, Member of the European Commission in charge of Trade received in Brussels Robert Lighthizer, the US Trade Representative. (© European Union EC- Audiovisual Service)

US President Donald Trump’s thundering trade salvos now seem to be concentrating exclusively against China. This week’s cannonade though didn’t remain unanswered. On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said “China will inevitably take countermeasures to resolutely protect our legitimate rights”. On Friday 7 September, the ‘America first’ ex TV celebrity aboard ‘Air Force One’ added up his threats for super tariff levies on top of the already imposed import taxes on Chinese goods, summing it up to $200 + 267 + 50. The total exceeds what China exported to the US last year.

On top of that, he ‘advised’ the largest company of the world, the $1 trillion capitalization tech giant ‘Apple’, to abandon its Chinese production structures and “start building factories in America”. On the contrary, during the last few days his attitude towards the European Union appears much more controlled. But let’s take one thing at a time, starting from perennial China and the vast American investments there. ‘Apple’ spearheads the US comprehensive presence in the huge economy.

Instructing Apple

Some days ago, the American tech giant sent a letter to the US Administration, saying that the White House trade policies towards China are to affect the American consumers, who will be obliged to pay more for the company’s products “including the Apple Watch”. Over the past years, the company has developed complex production structures in China and more generally in South-East Asia.

Trump’s ‘advice’ to the most valuable US trade name came after the delivery of that letter. It’s at least unusual and against the American political tradition for the White House occupant, to ‘instruct’ the country’s big businesses on their production/commercial strategies.

In a separate development, the White House seems to bring down the tones in its trade skirmishes with the European Union. Last Monday, the EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström received the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer in Brussels.

For one thing, this meeting revitalized the Trump-Juncker agreement for a trade truce and consultations. To be reminded, at the end of last July the American President and the President of the European Commission surprised the world by reaching a cordial armistice about their trade differences.

Caressing Europe

After that thought, Trump again raised the tones in August. He once more threatened the European cars with tariffs of 25%, which he had just agreed with Juncker to at least defer for some months and, in any case, after detailed discussion. Besides that, towards the end of August, the US President personally and swiftly rejected a Malmström statement for zero tariffs on cars imported by both sides.

This White House reaction was awkward for two reasons. For one thing, Malmström’s proposal should have been answered by her homologue, Robert Lighthizer. Secondly, and more importantly, the zero tariff option was a Trump idea proposed to the German automotive companies through the US Ambassador in Berlin.

Atlantic peace

In such an environment, the latest gathering of Malmström and Lighthizer in Brussels was already some notches cooler from Washington’s aggressive tactics. The two top trade officials were supported by their full teams. This was another indication of the importance of their meeting. In any case, the US and the EU seem to have achieved a full strategy to solve their differences in that Monday gathering. The two trade heads agreed to meet again before the end of this month.

As it became clear, lower officials have taken over the negotiations. According to Lighthizer’s office, trade experts will meet again in October “to identify tariff and non-tariff barriers”. Then, in November, the top trade representatives will wrap up the results.

In short, this is a full ‘corridor’ for the US and the EU to settle their trade differences. More precisely, Washington and Brussels say they are about to settle their confrontation in the automotive sector. Evidently, the car chapter is the most important item, in the long catalogue of differences between the two shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Pacific Ocean on fire

At a time when the US President is aggressively intensifying the rhetoric against China to unprecedented levels, an Atlantic conciliation may be a sure indication of what is going to follow over the Pacific Ocean. Yet, despite Trump’s arithmetic being so threatening, Beijing seemingly doesn’t want to be seen as following a ‘quid pro quo’ tactic in fueling its conflict with Washington. So, against the coming US tariff package on Chinese goods of a value of $200bn, Beijing says it prepares responsive action not exceeding $60bn.

Unquestionably, if things get out of control in the Pacific, it will be Washington to blame. Practically all the American tech giants strongly oppose Trump’s trade policies.

.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How technology can help India breathe more easily

Here are 4 of the most politically charged World Cup games ever played

Germany openly seeks more advantages for its banks

My ‘’cultural’’ contacts with China

UN programme to help spare millions from child marriage, extended to 2023

European Commission increases support for the EU’s beekeeping sector

MEPs oppose EU Commission plans to authorise three herbicide-resistant GMOs

Australia’s bushfires have pumped out half a year’s CO2 emissions

New rules on drivers’ working conditions and fair competition in road transport

Coronavirus update: COVID-19 likely to cost economy $1 trillion during 2020, says UN trade agency

Global Report on Food Crises reveals scope of food crises as COVID-19 poses new risks to vulnerable countries

Cities will lead the electric transport revolution. Here’s why

UK must end ‘unlawful’ administration of Chagos Archipelago ‘as rapidly as possible,’ top UN court rules

Multiculturalism, social diversity and tolerance

European banking stress tests 2014: A more adverse approach for a shorter banking sector

Do not take the EP’s consent on MFF for granted, says Budget Committee Chair

LETTER FROM AFGHANISTAN: Elections serve up food for thought, for Afghan youth

Real EU unemployment rate at 10.2%+4.1%+4.7%: Eurostat Update

Stricter rules to stop terrorists from using homemade explosives

How do we build a #sustainableworld?

GSMA Announces New Speakers for Mobile 360 Series – Middle East and North Africa

UN leads bid for cheaper insulin, expanding access for diabetics worldwide

Which country offers the cheapest mobile data?

We’ve lost 60% of wildlife in less than 50 years

How cultural understanding can help in the cultural shock

‘Reasons to hope’ for sustainable peace in Central African Republic – UN Mission chief

What meat consumption has brought to the environment and how herbal diets can help human health

‘The time for action is now’ senior UN peacekeeping official says, urging support for regional force combating Sahel terrorism

EU budget: Will Germany alone manage Britain’s gap?

‘Continue working together’ UN chief urges DR Congo, as country heads to polls

EU Border and Coast Guard: new corps of 10 000 border and coast guards by 2027

GSMA Mobile 360: Connecting Cities, Connecting Lives, Connecting Europe

COVID-19: What to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 6 April

Commission launches new edition of the Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor 2019

Revolutionary technologies will drive African prosperity – this is why

Trump denies climate change existence while Paris Agreement is not fully supported by G20 ahead of COP24

EU elections 2019: Rise of nationalist trends and populism in Europe challenges the EU edifice

How listening to patients could change the way we tackle cancer

Privatization as a symptom of health inequity

Eurozone cannot endure any longer youth marginalisation

Mental Health: Role of the individual for their well-being in the pandemic

Youth platforms call on German Government to break down legal barriers for young volunteers and pupils

These dogs can smell tree disease – and could help save the world’s orange groves

Far more needed to ‘confront the world’s climate emergency’, UN chief tells ASEAN Summit

New state aid rules: Commission increases national support to farmers up to €25,000

UN report on Syria conflict highlights inhumane detention of women and children

The eyes of Brazil and the world turn to the largest rainforest and largest biodiversity reserve on Earth #PrayForAmazonia.

Energy: EU priority projects should be aligned with 2050 climate objectives

IMF: The global economy keeps growing except Eurozone

Factory workers are facing a mental health crisis. Here’s how to respond

It’s Time to Disrupt Europe, Digital First

Why are wildfires getting worse?

Visiting North Korea, UN relief chief spotlights funding shortfall to meet humanitarian needs

A money laundering case on Vatican Bank’s road to renovation

Further reforms will move Slovakia toward a more innovative and inclusive society

Coronavirus makes inequality a public health issue

Europe united in not supporting a US attack on Syria

How to create responsible supply chains in the age of globalization 4.0

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2015: Why interns should matter to business

UNICEF urges ‘transformative shift’ in family-friendly work policies to reap ‘huge’ benefits

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s