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Trump plays nice with Jinping, blames past American presidents for trade deficit

By Patrick Higgins  |  09/11/2017 15:26
President Trump blames his presidential predecessors for the trade deficit with China, not China, in a speech to Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders in Beijing.

Trump, on an eleven-day tour of Asia, was quoted as saying, "Who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens. I blame past administrations for allowing this out-of-control trade deficit to take place and grow."

-The only criticism that he launched upon China was over its perceived lack of cooperation over the North Korea nuclear issue, as well as China's reluctance to address the trade imbalance with America, which stood at $347 billion last year.

Overall, Trump's choice of wording was positive, friendly, and reconciliatory, lightyears away from the fiery rhetoric of his election campaign. At that time, Trump accused China of, "raping," US industry and manipulating its currency. Thus, his complete turnaround of policy against China is all the more surprising.

To add more confusion to the reversal of his China policy, Trump also oversaw the ceremonial signing ceremony of over $250 billion worth of Sino-American trade deals before giving his positive speech. Once China's most ardent economic opponent, Trump publicly lauded the trade possibilities as China Petrochemical Corp (Sinotec) and the Alaskan government signed a non-binding deal to build a $43 billion natural gas pipeline. The project is estimated to reduce the trade deficit between the two countries by $10 billion, as well as to add 12,000 jobs in Alaska. Additionally, Boeing publicised the sale of $37 billion worth of aircraft to China Aviation Supplies Holding, and Goldman Sachs announced the creation of a $5 billion wealth fund with China's sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp, aimed at investing in US infrastructure, manufacturing, and healthcare. All of this supported and championed by a US president who just three months ago ordered a trade investigation into the unethical methods and intellectual property theft associated with China's trade practices. Though Trump is celebrating the trade deals as a huge breakthrough, it is unknown whether these agreements had been negotiated previously and are only now being revealed, or if the numbers were inflated for political purposes.

Such a reversal of US foreign policy within such a short period is unheard of and stands as a massive danger to Trump's political career. Throughout his tumultuous presidency, Trump has retained the support of his core voter block, who sincerely bought into the mantra of, "America First." Many of these voters come from disenfranchised, poverty-stricken, and uneducated lower classes, many of whom had lost jobs due to the globalisation of US industry. The idea that China was responsible for their suffering, and that Donald Trump was going to take back their livelihood for them persuaded many of them to support his rise to the presidency. These trade deals of this may be good for globalised business, but Trump's actions run at the risk of alienating a vast swathe of this critical American voter base. Though the trade deals are in line with Trump's move to make doing business more attractive in America, colluding so closely with a country many in America consider to be an enemy could push these voters down a more radical political path. Such radical political developments may very well produce a presidential candidate in the future who could go beyond what Trump has promised. Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies hit record-highs.


 

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