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 Milestones

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

In wake of ‘collapsed’ agreement, new wave of violence threatens millions in Syria’s Idlib

MEPs call for more sanctions against Belarus following ‘Ryanair hijacking’

The British are the most positive in Europe on the benefits of immigration

Refugee crisis update: EU lacks solidarity as migration figures drop

Why is scientific collaboration key? 4 experts explain

Phone lines open between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and people are calling strangers

A skills gap is jeopardizing efforts to end energy poverty

Health & Sustainable Development Goals: it’s about doing what we can

Amid ongoing fighting in northeast Syria, hundreds cross Iraqi border in search of safety

Promoting Equality for Women in the Healthcare Industry : A Physician’s Reflection on His Experiences as a Medical Student

These are the world’s best countries to retire in, as of 2019

A Sting Exclusive: “Entrepreneurship in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) era” written by the Vice-President of Junior Enterprises Europe

From the Field: Women push for peace

Banking on sustainability – what’s next?

Stakeholder Capitalism: over 50 companies adopt ESG reporting metrics

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union will impact young people’s future the most

Poland: €676 million worth of EU investments in better rails and roads

COVID-19: A time screaming for positivity

German heavy artillery against Brussels and Paris

A busy year in the UN Security Council: more openness, diversity mark 2019

Border management: Commission welcomes political agreement towards making European Travel Information and Authorisation System operational

Mexico must increase foreign bribery enforcement: full implementation of anti-corruption reforms could help

CHALLENGING THE ZEITGEIST OF DIGITAL – Change making projects innovate mobile support for refugees, inclusive environments, early breast cancer detection and more

These are the world’s most fragile states in 2019

How youth and technology can drive Africa’s COVID-19 response

Iraq: UN demining agency rejects desecration accusations, involving historic Mosul churches

Do not jeopardise future-oriented EU programmes, say EP’s budget negotiators

Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

Strengthening the rule of law through increased awareness, an annual monitoring cycle and more effective enforcement

From farms to supermarkets: MEPs approve new EU rules against unfair trading

Decarbonizing shipping – why now is the time to act

Scale of displacement across Myanmar ‘very difficult to gauge’, says UN refugee agency

EU disburses €460 million in Macro-Financial Assistance to Tunisia, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia

Recession: the best argument for growth

A new catastrophic phase in the Syrian carnage

The Cold War had an unintended side effect: It created a European wildlife paradise

Aung San Suu Kyi suspended from the Sakharov Prize Community

Libya: ‘Substantial civilian casualties’ in Derna, UN humanitarian chief ‘deeply concerned’

Why Eurozone’s problems may end in a few months

UN envoy ‘encouraged’ by latest talks on avoiding ‘worst-case scenario’ in Syria’s Idlib

Migration: EU helps channel humanitarian support to migrants in Lithuania

Crime and drugs in West and Central Africa: Security Council highlights ‘new alarming trends’

Digital privacy comes at a price. Here’s how to protect it

Connecting Europe Express reaches final destination after 20,000km journey

A Sting Exclusive: “China is Making Good Stories not Bad Ones”, Ambassador Yang highlights from Brussels

The EU Parliament unanimously rejects Commission’s ideas about ‘seeds’

Erasmus+: over €28 billion to support mobility and learning for all, across the European Union and beyond

Where are the charities in the great Artificial Intelligence debate?

This project is using AI and drones to track and protect great white sharks

EU-China relations under investigation?

Why we need to redefine trust for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The European Parliament hemicycle in Strasbourg (Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Mauro Bottaro)

EU Parliament sends controversial copyright law reform back to discussion

UNESCO experts ready to assist reconstruction of iconic Notre Dame, following devastating blaze

Backed by UN, Asia-Pacific countries to advance space technology for ‘development transformation’

Is Germany closer to Russia than the West? Nord Stream II and Iran count more

Education should be like everything else. An on-demand service

EU steps up aid for Lebanon – European Commissioner for Crisis Management in Beirut

Commission takes further action to ensure professionals can fully benefit from the Single Market

We must work together to build a new world order. This is how we can do it

Artificial Intelligence: These 3 charts show what people really think

More Stings?

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

%d bloggers like this: