Speed Reads

this is not the trade war you're looking for

The White House can't get its story straight on the trade war

The unfolding trade war is definitely not a trade war, the Trump administration continues to confusingly insist. President Trump reiterated Wednesday that "we are not in a trade war with China," despite having asserted last month that "trade wars are good and easy to win."

The president's own commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, even expressed bafflement Wednesday morning that everyone is in a tizzy about the escalating tensions between the U.S. and China, the world's two biggest economies, Axios reports. "I'm a little surprised that Wall Street is surprised by" China retaliating for newly proposed U.S. tariffs, Ross said on CNBC — basically defining what a trade war is. "This has been telegraphed for weeks."

Ross has nevertheless insisted at other moments that "we're not looking for a trade war," which makes the whole thing even more confusing. For good measure, Trump threatened Wednesday: "Now we have a Trade Deficit of $500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!"