The world is having terrible headache dealing with American President Donald Trump. This is perhaps the most flip-flop president the country has ever had. After telling all and sundry that he will meet North Korean Kim Jong-un, the U.S. leader scrapped the plan, only to revive it. It’s safe not to bet if the summit in Singapore between both nations will actually take place.
But the U.S.-North Korea summit isn’t the only event that saw how Trump administration could not make up its mind. The trade war against China has already gotten President Xi Jinping popping a truckload of aspirins. On Tuesday, Washington suddenly announced it will continue pursuing trade war against China after all, despite earlier suggestion by both countries to cool off.
According to the White House, by June 15, the U.S. will release a list of some US$50 billion worth of Chinese goods that will be subject to a 25% tariff. And by end of June, the United States will announce investment restrictions and “enhanced export controls” for Chinese individuals and entities “related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology.”
Initially, there was a compromise in mid-May – China agreed to purchase more U.S. agriculture and energy products in exchange to put Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE Corp. back in business. However, after 60 Democratic representatives demanded an ethics investigation into President Trump’s ties to China, Trump got cold feet and backpedalled on his deal with China.
The U.S. lawmakers has accused Trump of engaging hanky-panky in his push to rescue Chinese company ZTE – claiming that the business dealing between the Trump Organization and China may have violated U.S. laws forbidding public officials from accepting payments or gifts from foreign entities without Congress’s approval.
Apparently, the AFP reported that a Chinese company agreed to build a theme park at a major Indonesian development project that is set to include Trump-branded hotels, residences, and a golf course – and that will be funded in part by US$500 million in Chinese government loans. The project was between an Indonesian company called MNC and a Chinese company called MCC.
While trade war between the U.S. and China is taking a new turn for the worse, it appears that another trade war between the U.S. and its allies is about to go bad too. Trump administration reportedly will impose steel and aluminium tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union after all, after they were granted a temporary exemption from the tariffs earlier this year.
The U.S. has recommended 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminium imports. But as it turned out, China wasn’t the country that will be affected the most. Brazil is actually the country exporting cheapest steel to the U.S. And Canada – U.S.’ neighbour and strongest ally in the region – is the biggest international exporter of both steel and aluminium to America.
Clearly, Trump’s war on steel and aluminium has gotten ally – E.U. – really mad. Brussels has pledged to fight fire with fire if Washington carries out its threat to introduce import barriers to steel and aluminium products from Europe. The casualties would be U.S. iconic brands such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Jack Daniels whiskey, not to mention orange juice and dairy products.
According to an exclusive report by German magazine WirtschaftsWoche, President Trump may be blocking German luxury carmakers – Mercedes Benz – from the U.S. market. The magazine claimed Trump had told French President Emmanuel Macron in April that he aimed to push German carmakers out of the U.S. completely – until there are no Mercedes-Benz rolling down New York’s Fifth Avenue.
Anticipating the mad Trump would eventually turn against allies E.U., China appears to have found new allies with common interest. Hence, the Chinese is ganging up with other countries against the U.S. in Trump’s trade war, according to the Wall Street Journal. In order to entice those countries – mostly E.U. and Asia – China plans to offer them more open access to its markets.
Yes, as U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is set to arrive in Beijing Saturday for more talks, the Chinese has adopted the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” strategy against Trump. Since the U.S. does not appreciate China’s option of purchasing more of its products, Beijing’s strategy is to divide its allies by offering them something which U.S. has been asking for – market access.