President Trump’s ability to say exactly what’s on his mind makes him the best 2020 candidate for U.S.-China trade relations, according to a former Chinese trade negotiator.
Long Yongtu, China’s former vice minister of foreign trade, believes Trump is the “best choice” because he is “easy to read” in his style of negotiations and communication, according to the South China Morning Post.
“We want Trump to be reelected; we would be glad to see that happen,” Long said last week in Shenzhen during Credit Suisse’s China Investment Conference.
The 76-year-old retired negotiator who helped China enter into the World Trade Organization in 2001, said Trump is “the best choice in an opponent,” and his regular tweets revealing whatever is on his mind make him a more “transparent” figure than other American politicians.
“Trump talks about material interests, not politics,” Long told the South China Morning Post. “Such an opponent is the best choice for negotiations.”
“He makes the U.S. decision-making process efficient and transparent, because he basically says what it is,” Long said. “The pros of [having Trump] outweigh the cons. We don’t need to spend so much time figuring out what Americans want any more, or search for each other’s real thoughts in the dark, like we used to.”
According to the South China Morning Post:
Despite his fickleness, Trump is a transparent and realistic negotiator who is concerned only with material interests such as forcing China to import more American products, on which Beijing is able to compromise, Long said. Unlike his predecessors, Trump does not pick fights with China on hot-button geopolitical issues such as Taiwan or Hong Kong, where Beijing has little room to manoeuvre, said Long, who now heads the Centre for China and Globalisation, a Beijing-based think tank.
Even as Trump’s critics blast him for slapping tariffs on more than $350 billion of China’s goods, Long is optimistic about the relationship between the two nations and did not see a major shift in the U.S. approach to China.
“The trade frictions with China are just part of Trump’s global protectionist strategy,” he said, predicting that US “attacks” on Chinese technology companies such as telecommunication giant Huawei Technologies will not prove successful as the global supply chain has meant the nations have become dependent upon each other.
An agreement between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping was set to be signed this week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Santiago, Chile but had to cancel. Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng announced that the two sides had agreed to rollback tariffs in stages though the president pushed back against those claims.
“They’d like to have a rollback. I haven’t agreed to anything. China would like to get somewhat of a rollback. Not a complete rollback, because they know I won’t do it,” Trump told reporters at the White House last week. “China would like to make a deal much more than I would.”
White House economic and financial official Lawrence H. Summers believes a partial deal will still not address the underlying tensions that sparked the initial tariff battle. Those strained pressures will remain high “as long as China remains a substantial economic success” story, Summers said at the Credit Suisse conference.
(Video: YouTube/South China Morning Post)
Some of the new tariffs that are set to hit $156 billion of Chinese goods on Dec. 15 may be postponed, according to White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, but he said Trump would be the “only person” to make the decision.
“There is no agreement at this time to remove any of the existing tariffs as a condition of the phase one deal,” said White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro said during an interview on “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” “The only person who can make that decision is President Donald J. Trump, and it’s as simple as that.”
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