CTH was wondering how long it would take for President Trump to point out the brutally obvious…. Thanks to some advanced planning that everyone ignored, there are multiple trade alternatives to China:
Perhaps now people will reference President Trump’s long-game strategy which has been evident since his marathon Asia trip in November 2017.
Long before media pundits starting noticing/considering how serious President Trump was about structurally resetting the entire landscape of a U.S-China trade relationship, President Trump quietly and methodically laid the groundwork with personal visits to: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Japan); President Moon Jae-in (S-Korea); President Tran Dai Quang (Vietnam); and President Rodrigo Duerte (Philippines).
Oh, how quickly the media forgot.
These were not visits as part of multi-national/multilateral G20 or G7 discussions. The November 2017 tour of Asia was President Trump traveling to meet directly, face-to-face, one-on-one with the manufacturing heavyweights of Southeast Asia.
At every single stop he broadcast the intent of the visit: “We’re talking TRADE”!
These were unilateral meetings; and, in hindsight, clearly designed to structure the foundation of the current U.S-China trade conflict. You might remember CTH calling this the “golden ticket tour“. The tour culminated in the November 12-13, 2017, ASEAN summit; but the 10-day tour of Asia was entirely separate from the summit.
After the collapse of the U.S-China negotiations, there’s a reason why President Trump says: “we’re in no rush” to make a deal.
The reality is, though President Trump will continue to provide enticements for U.S. product manufacturing to return, there is an abundant ASEAN base to replace China.
This Art-of-The-Deal strategy is an aspect that almost no-one is paying attention to.
Of course, to consider this strategy the media would have to admit that President Trump has just executed one of the biggest global and geopolitical trade strategies of all time….
Nah, can’t be. Wait, wha?
It’s clear from the responses of nations who were visited in November 2017 and 2018, that some anticipation toward this trade outcome was likely.
Now ask yourself, how much did those golden tickets just appreciate in value?
Additionally, remember that innocuous Ivanka Trump visit to India. Again, November 2017:
….. And the important new Trump terminology: “Indo-pacific”?
Da Nang, Vietnam – United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today released the following statement in response to President Trump’s speech on trade between the United States and the Indo-Pacific region, at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit (emphasis mine):
“The President spoke loud and clear: the era of trade compromised by massive state intervention, subsidies, closed markets and mercantilism is ending. Free, fair and reciprocal trade that leads to market outcomes and greater prosperity is on the horizon.
“President Trump understands that too many nations talk about free trade abroad, only to shield their economies behind tariff and non-tariff barriers at home. The United States will no longer allow these actions to continue, and we are willing to use our economic leverage to pursue truly fair and balanced trade.
“I look forward to doing as the President instructed me and to pursue policies that will improve the lives of our workers, farmers and ranchers.” (link)
…. Which led to a very unusual November 2018 “Trilateral” meeting….
An important trilateral meeting between President Trump, Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Modi which forms an important economic alliance for President Trump’s Indo-Pacific economic strategy. As we noted when it happened: “this larger geopolitical strategy is the counterweight to China’s One-Belt/One-Road (red dragon) maneuver.”
[Transcript] Buenos Aires – PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to be with Prime Minister Modi of India, and, as you know, Prime Minister Abe of Japan. And we just had a great meeting, and we’re having now what we call a “trilat.”
The relationships between our three countries is extremely — extremely good, extremely strong. I think, with India, maybe stronger than ever. And with Japan, I think, stronger than ever. We’re doing very well together. We’re doing a lot of trade together. We’re doing a lot of defense together, a lot of military purchases.
And we’re going to now have a little discussion between the three of us. So thank you very much.
Mr. Prime Minister.
PRIME MINISTER MODI: (As interpreted.) I feel this is a very good occasion for our three countries — countries which have shared values, democratic values — Japan, America, and India together. We will be playing a big role together for world peace, prosperity, and stability.
I’m also happy that both the countries are our strategic partners. Both of them are very good friends. And the three countries together — it is a matter of good fortune that we will work together.
When you look at the acronym of our three countries — Japan, America, and India — it is “JAI,” which, in Hindi or in India, in general, is for “success.” In a way, this “JAI” — “success,” this message — is a good message that goes out. It’s a good beginning.
And together, as I said earlier, we’ll be playing a very big role to work together for world peace, prosperity, and stability.
PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) I am very delighted to hold the first-ever Japan-U.S.-India trilateral summit meeting today. Japan, the U.S., and India share fundamental values and strategic interests. And I certainly hope to further reinforce our trilateral partnership and to continuing our close cooperation toward realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific.
By having three of us working together, we’ll bring more prosperity and more stability in the region, as well as globally.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much.
Thank you very much everybody. END – 2:43 P.M. AST
Wait…. so you’re saying this was the plan all along?
The talks with China began with Trump anticipating a pre-determined outcome?
You mean… for almost two years, this was the design… and, like, everything was going in a totally different direction than was visible on the surface?
The whole time?..
No-one could see it?
“Rucky Day, Rucky Day”
…”Complicated business folks,… Complicated business.”…