Trump Chooses New Trade Enemy #1

Jt Vintage/Glasshouse via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

I’ve now read several stories purporting to outline President Trump’s new trade deal with China. All of them point in the same direction: nowhere. Trump will eliminate his tariffs, China will eliminate its retaliatory tariffs, and China will also agree to buy a few billion dollars worth of stuff it wanted anyway (LNG, soybeans, etc.). There will also be some vague movements in the direction of opening China’s economy, but mostly things that were already in progress two years ago before Trump derailed them.

In other words, after two years of huffing and puffing, Trump will get next to nothing. Just like he got next to nothing from Canada and Mexico in the NAFTA negotiations. And just like he’s so far gotten nothing from Europe. But no worries. To distract everyone’s attention from his failures, Trump has a new target: India. Here is the Washington Post:

On Monday, Trump notified Congress that the United States intends to end the preferential treatment for a host of Indian goods that now enter the country duty-free. The changes will not take effect for at least 60 days. In a letter, Trump said India would no longer receive benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences, which was set up to promote trade from developing countries. India is the GSP’s biggest beneficiary and exports about $5.6 billion in goods to the United States under the program, including motor vehicle parts, precious-metal jewelry and insulated cables.

Needless to say, this will go nowhere. Where else can it go? Even if India caves completely and provides the US with $5.6 billion worth of trade concessions in order to regain its GSP status, who cares? We export about $1.5 trillion in goods per year. Adding $5 billion is a drop in a bucket.

Still, it gives Trump some dark-skinned people to act tough about, and that’s what matters.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate