Donald Trump gets tough on China by using Beijing’s tactics against them
Donald Trump’s comments on China could be much more than empty speechmaking and leaders in Beijing are familiar some of the tactics Donald Trump will probably use against them. He has consistently shown a readiness to try to influence U.S. trade with China in ways that are politically more direct than previous administrations have been willing to deliberate. On Sunday, he threatened once more to use steep, blanket tariffs to curb Chinese imports into the United States. He has constantly affirmed that exports should be a priority for U.S.-based companies and has promised a tax structure that will help them achieve export objectives.
His keenness to exercise political persuasion over business matters isn’t confined to trade only. During the last several days, Trump has shown he isn’t afraid to exert pressure directly on U.S. companies that aren’t behaving as he would like them to behave. On Tuesday morning, he used Twitter to pressure Boeing to charge less for a new Air Force One. Trump also promised reprisals against firms that sack employees or build factories overseas. America is entering an era where I wouldn’t be surprised to see the U.S. government being less shy about applying state power to achieve what it sees as the national interest,” said John Minnich, a senior Asia-Pacific analyst at consulting firm Stratford.
Trump indicated that American employees have lost their tolerance of China if they ever had it. Trump promised voters in besieged manufacturing regions largely by saying he would enforce constraints on imports from China, tariffs.” We can’t continue to allow China to violate our country, and that’s what they’re doing,” Trump told excited crowds at an Indiana rally in June, referring to the trade deficit with China. Such language was the norm for then-candidate Trump, who has said repeatedly that Beijing’s heavy state influence on its economy is “killing” the United States. The relationship between the two countries is undergoing change. For decades, Democrats and Republicans alike have said that the best way to encourage a more open China was for the U.S. to just keep trading with the country and drawing it into the global economy.
The expectation was that eventually, China’s tremendous market would become as open to U.S. companies and investment as the U.S. is to Chinese imports and investment. Trump certainly is not the only person suggesting creative ways counter China’s unfair trade practices. A paper from the nonpartisan American Security Project, for instance, suggested using U.S. antitrust law to level the playing field against China’s biggest industries, which are part of a “single country-wide State syndicate.” “There’s definitely this idea that state capitalism in China gives them a negotiating advantage” on trade matters, Bremmer said. “When the United States tries to negotiate, they get undercut by companies that are inherently unpatriotic, because of their fiduciary responsibilities” to investors. “And Trump wants to change that.”