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.

.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

Trump ‘used’ G20 to side with Putin and split climate and trade packs

Portugal: €4.66 million in aid for 1,460 dismissed workers and jobless young

More than nine in ten children exposed to deadly air pollution

Security Council hails ‘historic and significant’ joint peace declaration by Ethiopia and Eritrea

Why private investment in deforestation-free commodity production needs to be scaled up

European elections: A chance to repel both nationalism and no-deal Brexit

Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries

UN Environment Assembly 2017: where the world convenes to #BeatPollution

Wide-ranging reforms needed to ensure Italy’s economic recovery

Key economic forum in Russia: New technology a ‘vector of hope’ but also ‘a source of fear’ says Guterres

The ECB still protects the banks at the expense of the EU taxpayers

Brussels to tear down the trade wall with Mexico as opposed to Trump’s “walls”

The widely advertised hazards of the EU not that ominous; the sting is financial woes

Preparing the future today: World Health Organisation and young doctors

New UN agriculture agency report underscores value of fishing in fight against global hunger

Voices of young climate action activists ‘give me hope’ says UN chief

‘Two pack’ austerity package in force but with less vigor

These countries are ranked highest – and lowest – for human development

Brexit talks: 2nd round fails to bring the EU and the UK closer on key issues

What are the real targets of EU’s efforts to fight tax evasion?

Instability in Africa’s Sahel, spreading outwards, Security Council told

Emergency meeting called as Ebola spreads to Congolese city – UN health agency

We probably should go back to the therapy in Primary Healthcare

EU continues targeting on Chinese steel imports instead of the revival of its own economy

Thursday’s Daily Brief: impact of bad working conditions, Syria and Libya humanitarian news, human rights in Bahrain, families reunified in South Sudan

Is it too soon to hope for a tobacco free Romania?

UN rights chief ‘strongly’ condemns ‘shocking’ mass executions in Saudi Arabia

“Austerity was not the alternative!”, President Hannes Swoboda of the European Socialists and Democrats on another Sting Exclusive

How fintech is making investment accessible

EU attempts to make new deal with Turkey as relations deteriorate

Data and the future of financial services

The completion of the European Banking Union attracts billions of new capital for Eurozone banks

3 ways AI will change the nature of cyber attacks

Commission’s spending totally uncontrolled

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

Is there a drug for every disease?

Myanmar Government side-lining democratic reform, resorting to military era repression: UN expert

“C’est la vie”? French recession and unemployment to linger in Eurozone

The Future of Retail: Changing shopping patterns will mean retailers need to invest in costly and complex solutions

Multilateralism more vital than ever, as World War centenary looms: Security Council

How a new approach to meat can help end hunger

FROM THE FIELD: Heeding the call for women’s rights around the planet

Inflation and interest rates indicate urgent need for action

The Ukrainian crisis to destabilize Europe and the world for a long time

Trump blocks US warmongers from bombing Iran

Investment, not debt, can kick-start an entrepreneurial Europe

EU job-search aid worth €9.9 million for 1,858 former Air France workers

EU Banks still get subsidies from impoverished citizens

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

Despite progress, companies face gender equality ‘backlash’: UN business body

‘Once-in-a-generation opportunity’ will be squandered, warns Guterres, unless social, economic, environmental challenges are met

EU elections: The louder the threats and the doomsaying the heavier the weight of the vote

‘More time’ agreed for buffer zone, to spare three million Syrian civilians in Idlib

Countdown To GSMA Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018 Is On

Memoirs from a unique trip to China: “my new old dragon” (Part I)

Here are three ways Africa’s youth are defeating corruption

Social, cultural diversity ‘an enormous richness, not a threat’ Guterres declares calling on investment for a harmonious future

MEPs and European Youth Forum call on EU to Invest in Youth

Crackdown on Christians in Eritrea spurs UN expert to press Government ‘to live up to its international commitments’

How can education empower youth to become tomorrow’s leaders

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