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China Tariffs: Trump’s Winning Hand

Nothing could play better into Trump's hand than a multi-phased deal with China, with each phase rolling back tariffs and giving American exporters more access to the Chinese market.

Quietly brewing in the background of the impeachment drama, an upcoming primary cycle, Ukraine, Mexican drug cartels, and Trump tweets is the trade deal with China. As much as all the other front-burner news items make lots of noise, the China story packs the most heat. Now it appears both negotiating parties have “agreed in principle” to move forward, kicking the ball to Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this is the first of several phases of a trade accord that will end the punishing tariffs. Nothing could play better into Trump’s hand than a multi-phased deal with China, with each phase rolling back tariffs and giving American exporters more access to the Chinese market.

The “phase one” pact would include Chinese purchases of American farm goods, rules to deter currency manipulation and some provisions to protect intellectual property and open up Chinese industries to U.S. firms, officials have said. The phase one deal was widely expected to deter Mr. Trump from imposing brand-new tariffs on Dec. 15 as planned, but negotiators now are working on a framework that would also roll back some existing tariffs, the people said.

In fact, WSJ cited reports that the Trump administration is toying with cutting back the 15% tariffs that went into effect September 1st, which have affected around $111 billion in Chinese imports.

The deal, if approved by Trump and Jinping, would probably be signed at some point in the future in a public meeting. Originally it appeared to be scheduled for the Asia-Pacific meeting in Chile, but that meeting was cancelled due to political unrest in Santiago.

Democrats in the House might be in charge of the timing of their “bombshell” revelations and transcripts, but Trump is in charge of rolling back tariffs in time for Christmas shopping. Which do you think will resonate better with American consumers?

The WSJ closed with Trump’s hole card: “’If we get the deal, the meeting place will come very easily,’” Mr. Trump said Sunday. ‘It’ll be someplace in the U.S.’” Of course it will. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t already got the perfect place in mind (New York City), and the perfect day–just before Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Nothing the Democrats have right now (short of impeaching him in the next 30 days) can beat Trump’s China hand. Money on the table always wins.

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