Having realized (perhaps) that taking China one on one will be difficult, not to mention lead to major stock market losses, Trump has decided to spread the pain, and is quietly building an
army coalition of nations to join the US in the trade war against China. The first stop: Latin America.
Trump is due to make his first visit to the region next week to attend the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, a trip which comes as his administration is waging a trade battle with China on one front and and pushing to overhaul NAFTA on the other. While there, Trump will make the case case that the US - and not China - should be the trade “partner of choice” for Latin America, a senior administration official said on Thursday told Reuters.
“President Trump has been very clear ... in terms of his economic policies that the Chinese economic aggression in the region has not been productive for the hemisphere and that the United States should remain the partner of choice for them,” the official told reporters on a conference call.
Trump will deliver an address to the summit where he will talk about “shared values” in the hemisphere and the need to reduce drug trafficking, the official said. Substantive discussions on NAFTA are not expected at the summit, the official said.
Ironically, the trip also comes as Trump has been raging against migration from the region, having recently successfully halted a "migrant caravan" from Guatemala headed for the US in hopes of obtaining asylum. It was unclear how much emphasis Trump would place on stopping illegal immigration from the region into the United States - one of his main promises in his presidential run for office, and a very sensitive topic for those present. Surely, some form of quid-pro-quo will be unveiled, as in Latin America may side with the US against China but only if Trump agree to accept a given number of migrants.
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Separately, earlier on Thursday Larry Kudlow confirmed that Trump is indeed building an army ahead of the big showdown with China. According to Bloomberg, Kudlow wants to rally "pro-market allies to push back against China’s unfair trade practices," a senior White House adviser said.
“The damage of our economy comes from China’s restrictive practices. Blame China. They’ve been doing this for decades. Don’t blame Trump,” Larry Kudlow, head of the White House’s National Economic Council, told reporters in Washington.
In threatening to punish China for its abuse of intellectual property, Trump is “doing what everyone in the world has said we should do,” said Kudlow, adding that the administration will have more to say about its efforts to recruit other major economies to support the U.S. position.
"I call it a trade coalition of the willing. I think everybody in the world knows that China has not played by the rules for many years," he said.
As reported earlier, for a second straight day Kudlow sought to reassure investors about Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese products. Kudlow emphasized that the tariffs haven’t been enacted, and the administration will consult with a range of parties, including U.S. lawmakers, the agriculture industry and the Chinese government itself. Overnight, China said Tuesday it prefers to negotiate a solution, but isn’t afraid to retaliate if the U.S. duties take effect. “It’s nothing around the corner. There’s going to be big discussion about it,” Kudlow said.
Perhaps, but according to the Chinese press, China has already won the "Trade Wars", which suggests that the only retreat possible is if Trump admits defeat, which knowing the president appears very unlikely, which in turn makes it very likely that the ongoing euphoric burst which has sent the Dow Jones 1000 points higher in the past 2 days will not last long.