Trump Trade Wars

Updates on US trade initiatives under President Donald Trump

US economists criticise cosy consensus for free trade agreements but agree that Trump’s tariff wars not the solution

January 13, 2020: Noah Smith recently reported on a debate about US trade policy at an American Economic Association meeting that showed more economists are criticising the “cosy consensus” on corporate-dominated free trade agreements.

US has withdrawn threatened Chinese tariff increases, but details of full deal not published

December 19, 2019: In a reported ‘Phase One’ agreement with China, the US has agreed to ditch its threatened new tariffs of $156 billion on Chinese goods, and has reduced but not removed existing tariffs. In return, China has agreed to buy more US agricultural exports and change its trade practices in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services and currency.

Developing countries defend WTO rules and dispute settlement system in the face of US actions and call for more priority for development

May 16, 2019: Ministers from 17 key developing WTO countries met in Delhi on May 14. In a statement on WTO reform, issued after the meeting, they defended the WTO multilateral trading system based on consensus of 164 WTO members, while identifying multiple challenges facing it.

US-China tariff wars not the answer to an unjust global trading system

May 15, 2019: Grace Blakeley argues in the New Statesman that the latest Trump policy of 25% tariffs on more Chinese imports and China’s retaliation could result in global recession, and will not fix the unjust neo-liberal model of trade agreements that has not delivered promised benefits. She argues in recent longer report for more equitable national economic policies and a fairer global trading system.

US opposes Paris climate agreement at G20 as US and China agree to delay tariff war and negotiate

December 4, 2018, The US continued its opposition to the Paris climate agreement endorsed by other governments in the declaration issued by the G20 governments meeting in Argentina on December 2. The declaration also omitted the usual pledge to resist new trade restrictions, presumably to enable the US to endorse it.  The G20 annual forum brings together leaders of the richest economies with some representation from developing countries.

US-China clash derails APEC summit outcome and increases regional tensions

November 20, 2018: At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) in Port Moresby last weekend US Vice President Mike Pence justified the US tariff war on China by criticising Chinese policies on  technology transfer, intellectual property and industrial subsidies, and accused China of drowning its Pacific Island aid partners in a sea of debt.

Chinese President Xi Jinping in turn urged a rules-based approach through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), said that intellectual property rules should not be as profit-making tools for a few, accused the US of  protectionism and unilateralism and urged cooperation rather than confrontation.

 

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