Trump backs down on China tariffs

Trump backs down on China tariffs, by Paul Mirengoff. Contrary to the view in yesterday’s article on negotiations, this article argues that Trump has achieved very little by threatening tariffs.

There are two problems. First, the tariffs weren’t, or shouldn’t have been, primarily about getting China to buy more American stuff. They were, or should have been, directed at ending predatory Chinese practices that enable China to steal American technology as part of its plan to gain dominance in the technology sector.

What does the deal with China accomplish on this front? According to the joint statement of the U.S. and Chinese governments:

Both sides attach paramount importance to intellectual property protections, and agreed to strengthen cooperation. China will advance relevant amendments to its laws and regulations in this area, including the Patent Law.

In other words, China has agreed to nothing.

Second, China hasn’t agreed to much even on the straight trade side. There is a “framework” that Mnuchin will “try to execute.” He wants to “follow up” with “hard commitments.” … Once again, the can has been kicked down the road. I agree with Rich Lowry:

The vague-to-the-point-of-useless deal and complete absence of American action could have been pulled straight from the Obama or Bush administrations. Secretary Mnuchin is perfectly imitating former Treasury secretaries Lew, Geithner, and Paulson, who led us here.

PC spinner Paul Krugman puts the worst possible interpretation on events, and wonders if the Chinese have a “Trump tape”: