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Trump’s Trade War Was Futile

David Frum
 

By David Frum (Original source The Atlantic)

“President Donald Trump promised yesterday that peace is at hand in his trade war upon China. “We have agreed to a very large Phase One Deal with China,” he tweeted at 10:25 a.m. “They have agreed to many structural changes and massive purchases of Agricultural Product, Energy, and Manufactured Goods, plus much more.” Beijing also announced that the two sides had reached an agreement.

Yet the first reports on the details suggest something less than a “very large” deal—it seems more a pause and truce. Still, the world will be spared the round of United States tariffs that were scheduled for December 15. By 2020, Trump’s trade wars could cost the global economy $700 billion, the International Monetary Fund estimates. More tariffs would have cost more still.

Under the deal, China will increase some agricultural purchases from the United States, which it would have done anyway because the country is in the throes of a swine flu that has killed 100 million pigs and cut the country’s pork production in half. China has also made promises to improve its protection of intellectual property—something else that China was already doing anyway.”

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