Messing up the trade war

Dictatorships are un-Epicurean.  Period.  Thus, standing up to China, which already  by some measures is economically ahead to the US (dear, oh, dear) is to be applauded.  While I agree that politics should not be discussed on this forum, resisting dictators and would-be dictators intent on world domination seems to be a no-brainer.

It appears that, after all the fuss about the US-China trade agreement, all that has been achieved is to get an undertaking from China to “buy more American farm goods”.  That is all. Left untouched are all the handouts and subsidies given by China to companies operating overseas, something everyone in the West agreed should be reduced or eliminated during the negotiations in the cause of a level playing field.  The US objective was to close the trade deficit with China.  Instead, it has risen from $544 billion in 2016 to $691 billion in the 12 months ending in October.  Meanwhile US tariffs are affecting US consumers and companies, and Chinese retaliation on US farm exports is hitting American farmers badly – the farm bailout has already cost more than twice the bailout of the auto industry under Obama.  According to diplomatic sources, Chinese officials are “jubilant and even incredulous” – out-negotiating the US was easy, so they claim.

Few in the US understand or seem to care, except for some in academia and the civil service.  But who listens to them anymore?

(Paul Krugman commented on this issue in the New York Times, 17 Dec 2019.  The opinions are  my own)

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