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

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

Refugee crisis update: EU still lacks solidarity as Hungary and Slovakia refuse to accept EU Court’s decision

Technology is a force for peace and prosperity. Don’t let its challenges obscure this

Angola’s President João Lourenço calls for stronger EU-Africa cooperation

European Business Summit 2013: Where Business and Politics shape the future

Doctors are humans too: the benefits of embracing your mental status

China-EU Relations: Broader, Higher and Stronger

Advanced economies still have plenty of work to do to reach Sustainable Development Goals

Libya: EU efforts should focus on protecting migrants, MEPs say

‘Urgent need’ to stop Mali violence with ‘effective’ military response: UN expert

UN chief announces progress on committee to shape Syria’s political future

This Indian school accepts plastic waste instead of fees

Syria: ‘Deplorable’ violence in Idlib against civilians, humanitarian workers must ‘stop immediately’: UN Coordinator

2019 EU Budget: Commission proposes a budget focused on continuity and delivery – for growth, solidarity, security

Taliban-led violence during recent Afghan polls leaves record high numbers of civilians dead – UN

Humanitarian Aid: EU mobilises €6 million for people in need in Colombia

US and Mexico child deportations drive extreme violence and trauma: UNICEF

This is Amsterdam’s ambitious plan to turn its transport electric

Syria: Why did the US-Russia brokered ceasefire collapse? What does the duo care for?

The EU wants to create 10 million smart lampposts

Copyright: MEPs update rules for the digital age

UN welcomes ‘record’ Brussels conference pledge of nearly $7 billion to support Syrians

This fascinating map shows how food moves around the US

Development aid drops in 2018, especially to neediest countries

How climate change exacerbates the refugee crisis – and what can be done about it

Entrepreneurial leadership: what does it take to become a leader?

Why banks escape from competition rules but not pharmaceutical firms

How cultural understanding can help in the cultural shock

Dangerous Trumpism in the Middle East with an anti-European edge

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is redefining the economy as we know it

More than nine in ten children exposed to deadly air pollution

What can Darwin teach the aviation industry about cybersecurity?

DR Congo: Ebola outbreak spreads to eastern ‘no-go’ zone surrounded by rebels

UN rights office calls on Zimbabwe Government to end ‘crackdown’ in response to fuel protests

Rise in violent conflict shows prevention ‘more necessary than ever’: UN chief

Erasmus+ 2021-2027: more people to experience learning exchanges in Europe

Warsaw wins 2020 Access City Award for making the city more accessible to citizens with disabilities

The global economy isn’t working for women. Here’s what world leaders must do

These are the challenges facing India’s most sacred river

How can consumers be effectively protected from insurance sellers?

5G networks: to slice or not to slice?

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: sexual violence in conflict, a malaria vaccine trial, updates on Libya, Ebola in DR Congo, Sri Lanka and Mali

New UN rights chief pledges to push back on ‘centuries of prejudice and discrimination’

SMEs and micro firms sinking together with south Eurozone

Voice tech and the question of trust

These countries have the highest minimum wages

A new kind of company is revolutionising Africa’s gig economy

How this one change can help people fight poverty

Preventing and resolving conflicts must form ‘backbone’ of collective efforts – UN chief

The crunch ‘COP 24’ UN climate change conference: what’s at stake and what you need to know

THE ROAD TO GANESHA

‘Step backwards’ for Bosnia’s autonomous Serb region as assembly reneges on Srebrenica genocide report

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

UN chief urges top digital tech panel to come up with ‘bold, innovative ideas’ for an ‘inclusive’ future

European Commission steps up protection of European intellectual property in global markets

Artificial Intelligence: a danger to mankind, or the key to a better world?

Governments urged to put first ever UN global migration pact in motion, post-Marrakech

St. Vincent and the Grenadines breaks a record, as smallest ever Security Council seat holder

CO2 emissions around the world

How wealthy people transmit this advantage to their children and grand children

4 reasons cities should embrace Universal Basic Income

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