Saturday, June 9, 2018

Trump Threatens to Stop All Trade With Countries That Practice "Unfair" Trade

It was quite the Trumpian press conference today at the G7 meetings in Charlevoix, just before Trump jetted off to Singapore ahead of his meeting there with North Korean leader Kim Jung un.

At the press conference, Trump managed to go from threatening to stop all trade with countries that were trading "unfairly" to saying the G7 countries should have zero tariffs. Thus, providing propaganda points that both anti-trader Peter Navarro and the new-spinner Larry Kudlow can use on the Sunday talk shows.

Of course, the reality is that Trump remains a hardcore anti-trade mercantilist who as a next move is likely to increase the number of tariffs with a special focus on German made cars.

The New York Times described the scene in Charlevoix :
President Trump said on Saturday that he had brought up with America’s closest allies the dramatic prospect of completely eliminating tariffs on goods and services, even as he threatened to end all trade with his counterparts if they didn’t stop what he said were unfair trade practices.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a contentious weekend meeting of the Group of 7 nations in a resort town outside of Quebec City, Mr. Trump said that eliminating all trading barriers would be “the ultimate thing.” But he railed about what he called “ridiculous and unacceptable” tariffs on American goods and vowed to get rid of them.
“It’s going to stop. Or we’ll stop trading with them.
"And that’s a very profitable answer, if we have to do it,” Mr. Trump said, adding, “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing, and that ends.”

This should sell well with his blue state supporters, who probably think economic free trade theory is a commie plot and with the free-marketers who think Trump is playing three-dimensional chess by adding tariffs to eliminate all tariffs.

Trump is the master of jiujitsu spin.

But Trump makes Paul Krugman look like a sound economist.


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