Don't tell President Trump he got rolled by China. On Fox News Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump has put his $150 billion in proposed tariffs "on hold" while the U.S. and China implement a new "framework" in which China lowers tariffs on unspecified U.S. goods, buys more U.S. energy and food, and increase cooperation in safeguarding U.S. technology. Trump began his morning tweets with a defense of the preliminary deal:
China has agreed to buy massive amounts of ADDITIONAL Farm/Agricultural Products - would be one of the best things to happen to our farmers in many years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 21, 2018
"On China, barriers and tariffs to come down for first time," he added. Analysts, and many of his own allies, did not agree with Trump's rosy assessment. "Trump administration gets rolled by the Chinese," tweeted Wall Street Journal trade reporter Bob Davis. Fox Business host Lou Dobbs tweeted: "Chinese say 'No Deal' — U.S. must export like a superpower not an agrarian developing nation half our size!" Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) summed up the objections in one tweet:
#China is winning the negotiations. Their concessions are things they planned to do anyways. In exchange they get no tariffs, can keep stealing intellectual property & can keep blocking our companies while they invest in the U.S. without limits. #Losing https://t.co/nHu1wnrm3b
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 21, 2018
China got Trump's team to drop the threatened tariffs and a specific $200 billion commitment for increased imports, and in return it pledged to buy more U.S. energy and food that it was almost certainly going to import anyway to feed its growing middle class. So "China appears to have the upper hand, but this is just the beginning," says Heather Long at The Washington Post. "There's hope on both sides of the aisle (and in many parts of America) that Trump will hold out for more." Peter Weber