1 August 2019   Leave a comment

US President Trump announced that the US will impose an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion of imported Chinese goods. The tariffs will start on 1 September and Mr. Trump did not foreclose the possibility of imposing another 25% tariff on Chinese goods. The trade talks with China are obviously not going well and it seems to be a safe bet that the Chinese will now just wait out the rest of President Trump’s term, hoping for a more receptive US President after November 2020. The new tariffs will have a dampening effect on the US economy. President Trump promised that the tariffs imposed earlier on China, Mexico, and Canada would bring manufacturing jobs back to the US, but so far that has not happened:

“Under mounting pressure as tariffs threaten to drive up costs, US manufacturers in China are indeed packing up and heading elsewhere. Companies including Nike, Crocs, Roomba and GoPro are now producing most of their goods outside the country, having set up operations in Vietnam, India, Bangladesh and Mexico. Dell, Sony, Nintendo and HP are reportedly considering such moves.

“But very few are moving back to the US.

“’Trump’s tariffs may have sent the message to ask US companies to consider reshoring, [but] very few will actually follow through,’ said Daniel Ikenson, director of the Centre for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, a non-partisan think tank. ‘Making products in America has become too expensive.’”

President Trump seems to be unconcerned about the impact of the tariffs. He said today: ” “If they don’t want to trade with us anymore, that would be fine with me. We’d save a lot of money.”

For the third time in just over a week, North Korea has launched ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan (or, the East Sea as the Koreans call it). There is no question that Leader Kim is demanding an answer to his calls for the US and South Korea to postpone their scheduled military exercises. But President Trump’s public response is strangely unaware of the urgency of Kim’s actions. On the White House lawn, President Trump responded to a reporter’s question:

Q    On North Korea, sir.  On North Korea, they apparently just launched their third missile in about a week.  Is Kim testing you?

THE PRESIDENT:  I think it’s very much under control.  Very much under control.

This response is profoundly inappropriate. It will force Kim to escalate his actions, giving the US little wiggle room to respond. It also ignores the fact that short range missiles pose a serious threat to US allies, South Korea and Japan. President Trump is not exactly talking like a reliable ally to states under the serious threat of a nuclear attack.

Posted August 1, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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