The Trump administration is celebrating a 90-day truce in its trade war with China—even though skeptics believe that Beijing won’t yield to U.S. demands anytime soon.
President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, calls Trump and President Xi Jingping’s weekend cease-fire “an enormous, enormous event.”
During talks in Buenos Aires, Trump agreed to delay a January 1 increase in U.S. tariffs on many Chinese goods for 90 days. Instead, the two sides will negotiate over U.S. complaints about China’s trade practices, especially that China uses doubtful tactics to try to achieve technology supremacy.
China’s practices, according to the administration and outside analysts, include stealing intellectual property (original ideas or works) and forcing companies to turn over technology in order to even do business in China. Los Angeles Times reporter Charlene Fu calls China’s theft of intellectual property “repeated and unashamed.” (Think knockoff watches and fake designer purses.)
Not that the Asia giant doesn’t have plenty of ideas of its own. The United Nations announced this week that for the eighth straight year, China has issued the most international patent applications—documents giving someone the right to keep other people from making, selling, or importing an invention.
Many analysts are relieved that the Trump-Xi meeting at least pressed the “pause” button on tariff hikes. Most believed such tariffs would have raised prices in the United States on many items, including smartphones, clothes, and toys.
In return for delaying higher U.S. tariffs, China agrees to increase purchases of U.S. farm, energy, and industrial goods. But the pledge to buy more American products has been made before. It seems dealing justly and keeping one’s word are in short supply.
And as Jonathan Gold of the National Retail Federation points out, “The question is, what happens at the end of 90 days?”
(President Donald Trump meets with China’s President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit on Saturday, December 1. AP Photo)