President Trump is on another tweeting tear Thursday morning, alternating between comments about the ongoing US-China trade talks and his push to convince a bipartisan group of lawmakers to strike a border security deal that includes funding for his promised border wall.
After affirming earlier that a trade deal won't be struck this week because there won't be a "final deal" until Trump and President Xi can meet face to face (the WSJ reported that Trump will travel to China next month for the meeting), Trump followed up by insisting that a final deal will require China to open up its markets not only to US financial services firms, but to US "manufacturing, farmers and other US businesses and industries."
Looking for China to open their Markets not only to Financial Services, which they are now doing, but also to our Manufacturing, Farmers and other U.S. businesses and industries. Without this a deal would be unacceptable!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019
He followed that up with a tweet affirming that the Pentagon will be sending more troops to the US border (something the Pentagon announced earlier this week).
More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large Caravans, into our Country. We have stopped the previous Caravans, and we will stop these also. With a Wall it would be soooo much easier and less expensive. Being Built!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019
On Wednesday, Trump shared a quote from a Fox & Friends story about the three migrant caravans that are currently headed for the US border, an angle that Trump is seeking to play up as Democrats dig in their heels and Trump threatens to finally call the national emergency that would (in theory, at least) allow him to circumvent Congress and order the military to build the wall (which, as Trump has repeatedly claimed, has already been started). The tweets on trade come ahead of a reported meeting between Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House on Thursday.
However, despite Trump's emphasis on farming and manufacturing, the president's tweet notably follows a story published Thursday in the Wall Street Journal which explained why the US is in a better position to expand services like banking, consulting, engineering and insurance in China than agriculture - the US already ships tons of agricultural products to China - and manufacturing - China's lower costs and established supply chains will make it impossible for US firms to compete.
An emphasis on services would be a natural fit: US companies are already internationally competitive in the financial services, insurance, engineering, consulting, software development and many other high-skilled service industries. But the US provides far fewer of these services to China than to the rest of the world, according to Adam Slater, the lead economist of Oxford Economics.
"These might be the sectors you would hope would grow in the future, but currently face barriers," Mr. Slater said.
To be sure, expanding these sectors would benefit an entirely different group of companies - and people - than Trump would have us believe. And that might be an issue for Trump as 2020 approaches.