About time we started discussing something that has been occurring for decades. A war in which U.S. workers continue to lose.
Trade Negotiations Require a Steel Spine
President Donald Trump dealt himself a strong hand before negotiating with China.
He held three aces. He’d placed tariffs on imported aluminum and steel in response to unrelenting Chinese overproduction. He’d threatened tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese imports in retaliation for theft and forced transfer of American intellectual property. And for trade violations, he forbate U.S. companies to sell parts to Chinese cell phone giant ZTE, forcing it out of business.
And then, inexplicably, his lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, quickly folded in talks in Washington, D.C., last week. He left two days of negotiations with top Chinese officials with what amounts of an unenforceable letter of intent.
This “joint statement” says the Chinese will buy some more American made stuff, improve its protections for American intellectual property and patents, and remove some barriers preventing U.S. companies from operating in China. But there are no specifics and no enforcement.
In exchange for these vague promises, Mnuchin suspended the tariffs. In addition, on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States and China had reached a tentative deal to save ZTE, despite the fact that ZTE failed to honor an earlier agreement made after it violated trade embargoes against Iran and North Korea.
Yes, there is the Korea thing. So, underemployed or overworked employees get to pay enormous taxes (or pass those taxes along to their sons and daughters) to support a bloated military industrial complex. Cold War considerations outweigh trade policy considerations. Meanwhile, out of a sort of quiet desperation, working class Trumpians believe their fearful leader's every word.