“Strategery” – President Trump Instructs Ross and Lighthizer to Focus on Auto Sector….

Further evidence there will be no further engagement with China surfaces in an announced specific shift in directive from President Trump today focusing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and USTR Lighthizer on a sector, not a specific nation.

The auto industry is the key sector on two specific trade fronts: the EU trade reset and the ongoing negotiations with Japan.  Both trade agreements center heavily on the auto-sector; and both Japan and the EU have cemented intransigent trade positions.

Enter President Trump to cut the Gordian knot.

It’s a small but important note that President Trump had previously assigned geographic trade responsibilities.  Wilbur Ross has the EU as his primary focus and Robert Lighthizer has authority over Asia.  Today the White House connects the objective of both Ross and Lighthizer as President Trump instructs the U.S. Trade Representative to engage in discussions around the specifics of the auto-sector:

White House – […] Following an extensive review of the Department of Commerce’s Section 232 automobile report, President Trump today issued a proclamation directing the United States Trade Representative to negotiate agreements to address the national security threat, which is causing harm to the American automobile industry. (more)

The President has designated the auto industry as a critical component of national security [More Here].  With Ross’s report in hand, the possibility of increasing tariffs on foreign automobiles is the leverage POTUS gives to Lighthizer along with the mandate to engage.

This sector-specific approach makes buckets of sense when we consider the intransigence of both Japan and the EU on the larger trade issues. [Note: in this example the EU is controlled almost exclusively by Germany and Angela Markel.]  Interestingly, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe knows President Trump as a friend, and they both respect each other immensely as trade and economic strategists.  Merkel, not-so-much.

Prime Minister Abe is a tough adversary for President Trump because it’s like having to negotiate with a brother/competitor who really understands your strategies.

Like Chairman Xi and China, Angela Merkel and the EU is an easier challenge for President Trump.

Trump knows the EU pressure points and he’s pre-constructed the Section 232 review for just this purpose.  Quite simply wherever the German auto-industry goes, so too goes the fortunes of German political leadership.

As a result, unless the EU is going to align with communist China, the EU cannot lose U.S. market access.


There is a possibility that Germany will force the EU to economically align with China; that is part of the current geopolitical dynamic taking place over the tech industry.  However, PM Shinzo Abe, will never allow the Japanese economy to be held captive to the influence of China.  So each trade partner involved in the auto-sector may diverge on that key issue.

Merkel and the EU may decide manufacturing exports to China are worth more to them than manufacturing exports to the United States.  However, as Trump pummels the Chinese economy, he is also changing the dynamic of possible future benefit within the mind of those constructing the EU economic plan.

A weakened (more poor) China presents a less valuable economy for exported consumer goods.  As China devalues their money to retain export leverage, they simultaneously drive up import costs.  Those German cars become much more expensive and the Chinese consumer won’t be able to afford them.  It’s an interesting dynamic.

There’s always been a good chance that President Trump would apply auto tariffs on the EU in order to leverage trade reciprocity, eliminate non-tariff barriers and protectionism, and simultaneously force Germany to pay for their own NATO defenses.

However, the potential for auto tariffs on Japan has been more singular in focus. Trump wants fair and open access for U.S. agriculture goods as a hedge against China refusing to purchase.  President Trump was always positioning Japanese auto sector tariffs as straight one-for-one leverage toward more exports.  Trump doesn’t look at Abe’s cars as anything other than ordinary leverage toward a traditional trade deal.

Guess what?  Shinzo Abe knows this…

Like I said, it’s like negotiating a better position with your brother as your competitor… he knows your objectives.   Cue the audio visual:

Japan has agreed to lift longstanding restrictions on American beef exports, clearing the way for U.S. products to enter the market regardless of age, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday.

The news comes on the heels of other important trade developments on Friday, including the Trump administration’s plans to delay auto tariffs on the EU and Japan and lift steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico.

In 2005, Japan imposed restrictions on cattle over 30 months old for U.S. beef imports in response to the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, sometimes known as mad cow disease.

According to the USDA announcement, Japan agreed to remove that age limit for U.S. beef imports. The new terms, which take effect immediately, allow U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003, the government said.

“This is great news for American ranchers and exporters who now have full access to the Japanese market for their high-quality, safe, wholesome, and delicious U.S. beef,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement. “We are hopeful that Japan’s decision will help lead other markets around the world toward science-based policies.”

American beef sales to Japan topped $2 billion last year, representing approximately one-fourth of all U.S. beef exports. (read more)

Trust me… Grab a Snickers with these two challenging each-other…. it’s gonna be a while.


This entry was posted in Auto Sector, Big Government, China, Communist, Donald Trump, Economy, European Union, G20, G7, Japan, media bias, President Trump, Trade Deal, Uncategorized, United Kingdom (UK) and Great Britain, US dept of agriculture, US Treasury, USA, USMCA. Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to “Strategery” – President Trump Instructs Ross and Lighthizer to Focus on Auto Sector….

  1. Elric VIII says:

    It’s amazing what true leadership can accomplish.

    Liked by 20 people

  2. TreeClimber says:

    I’m glad President Trump has a friendly rival/competitor, it’s probably been awhile since he’s fenced with someone who wasn’t out to utterly ruin his life at all costs.

    Liked by 17 people

  3. Publius2016 says:

    One interesting aspect is Island/Maritime Powers vs land locked…its like this idea of trains vs planes…Green New Deal truly is Globalist Trojan Horse while America First is about creating something new and beautiful to the stars!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. theresanne says:

    Love our Businessman/President!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Carson Napier says:

    Looks like China may end up going home alone, and being an old maid, by playing too hard to get.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. thesavvyinvester says:

    Sundance, I need a detailed post, but in brief. Imho this is about EV battery manufacturing of which China is now king. Aka, 60%. The EV revolution is almost here & we need our own Lithium supply chain or from allies we trust (Japan). Imho, PDJT knows this revolution is almost here and to keep our big 3 or big 4 viable, “cross-checking” China is not out of the question as this is a national security issue, especially if mil-type vehicles land, sea & air add these power-trains to there mix.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Ausonius says:

    Makes you wonder if businessman Wendell Willkie would not have been superior to Roosevelt in dealing with not-really-an-ally Stalin.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. mr.piddles says:

    Americans love love love their car imports…


    • GB Bari says:

      Americans also love a choice. And they demand quality and reliability in their motor vehicles. Detroit had forfeited quality and reliability for several decades which opened the doors for higher quality imports.

      Buying and driving imports became a tradition for many Americans who had been badly ripped off by defective “Detroit Iron” for several decades, and were doubtful that the Big Three would ever again make a quality vehicle.

      But apparently that has now turned around. Look at this:


      Liked by 5 people

      • mr.piddles says:

        Interesting breakdown there. There are so many freaking Hondas and Toyotas up here in MA.

        Speaking of defective iron… my buddy had an F150 years ago… maybe 2003, something like that. His wife was tootling along 70MPH in the fastlane… and BANG!… front axle snaps right in half. Luckily, she ended up on the center guardrail with the axle jammed in there just right. Otherwise… you can just imagine the carnage. I mean, I’ve heard of defects, but that takes the cake.


        • Reloader says:

          We have been over this before. U.S. car makers were forced against the wall, by gov’t regulations and taxation. By union aggression. By Americans being taught by the likes of Ralph Nader to hate their own. By “asian quality” promoted through currency manipulation, asian gov’t subsidy, product dumping below cost, tariffs, non-tariff blocks to imports, intellectual property theft, etc. ALL BY JAPAN !!!

          Where did China learn to steal from and screw Americans? China learned to screw Americans from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, etc.

          The auto sector is important regarding national security because trucks and airplanes can be built in auto manufacturing plants. Real Americans proved this in WWII. Plants operated by Japanese firms in America are not the equivalent.

          All of these reasons are why it is, in fact, Traitorous for Americans to love a Jap car.

          Liked by 1 person

      • john says:

        I find this article dubious at best. I live in Michigan and I can tell you at least 75% of all vehicles in SE Michigan are SUVs and pickups. Almost none of which are foreign. I see more F150s than anything else. With the aluminum construction and the vortex engine the gas mileage is similar to all but the smallest cars.

        Showing the Malibu as the most popular vehicle here is laughable. I never see Malibus here.

        Liked by 1 person

        • GB Bari says:

          John, despite your empirical observations, the data is not from a poll or anyone’s opinion. It’s straight from the auto insurance companies. I think the insurance companies make darn sure they know very accurately what makes of vehicles exist in each state.

          Now if all those “SUVs and F150 pickups” are being driven around uninsured, that could account for your observations. Seems a bit of a stretch, though.


    • budklatsch says:

      It does get confusing. not too many years ago, my wife drove an MB assembled in SC. I drove a Silverado assembled in Canada. Now we both drive Hondas built in Alabama!


  9. Bill Henslee says:

    People won’t give enough credit to personal diplomacy in trade talks when each leader can measure the other negotiator across the table and decide whether the best deal is a mutually agreeable deal. Sounds so simple, but requires a certain talent for this

    Liked by 4 people

  10. tonyE says:

    Yes… Mrs. Trump is beautiful, but I’ve had a soft spot for Japanese women ever since I lived in Hawai’i. Akie Abe is, IMHO, ( hey, don’t yell ) the more beautiful. Up there with my wife.

    Hmm… I married an American Japanese import. 😉

    And, let’s face it, I do love American Beef and Japanese Cars too.

    German? Not so much.
    Chinese? Forget it.

    BTW- My wife exports American Soybeans to Japan. The BEST soybeans grown in American, in Marysville, Ohio. On land leased by a “japanese” automaker. You see, it turns out the Japanese have nothing against American agricultural products… they just want the BEST. If you don’t believe me, go to a Japanese-American market in Southern California. You pay, but the veggies will last for three weeks in the fridge, easy. Eat less but eat the best!

    Liked by 6 people

  11. Carson Napier says:

    He’s comin’ to ya on an eight lane road
    Good Presidentin’, he’s got a plane load
    And when you get it you got something
    So don’t worry America, ’cause Trump’s coming

    He’s Trump man

    He got what he got the American way
    And now he’s making America better each and every day
    So Americans don’t you fret
    ‘Cause you ain’t seen nothing yet

    He’s Trump man
    Play it Sundance!
    He’s Trump man

    He was brought up building things on many a street
    He learned how to make great deals almost before he could eat
    He was educated from good stock
    When he starts making things great, he just can’t stop

    He’s Trump man

    Well grab the rope and he’ll pull you in
    Give you hope and be your best President
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    He’s Trump man
    You’re a Trump man
    He’s Trump man

    Liked by 3 people

  12. thebigharry says:

    Cattlemen should be happy with this.
    The cows . . not so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Pa Hermit says:

    Gonna be hard to figure out why American lay people can’t see the forest for all those trees! Barring unforeseen issues, Trump should mop the floor with any of those Dems running for POTUS!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ray Runge says:

      One would believe with 2 stars. Joe Biden struggles in any verbal presentation of just run of the mill campaign patois. Joe is supposed to win and will never be responsible for running. The Club will take of Joe and policy will be supplied.

      Scary but a few times during the he general election campaign will require Biden to face off with Trump on the same stage


  14. Ghost says:

    Observations from a smaller limb.

    Abe has worked well with PDJT already in a number of areas. Last year in January Japan passed the import diversity act. Then reduced imports from Australia and Canada and in increased them from U.S. and South Korea.

    Next Japan signed a deal for coal from South Korea with the caveat that if North Korea meets PDJT demands that South Korea could develop mining if allowed and use that as part of what was at the time the largest export deal of South Korea’s history.

    Over one third of India’s iron ore is grade level three. Only two countries have the technology to use this ore in high grade end use products. Japan and U.S. remember the India’s investment in Texas production recently. Japan has stated the if the trilateral deal with the U.S. and India is reached they are open to further discussions on this matter.

    Next let us not forget the parade of eastern European leaders that have recently passed through the White House in meetings. I’ve stated before looks like a plan developing.

    This is going to be fun to watch.

    Liked by 8 people

  15. Elric VIII says:

    Of course the auto industry is a critical component of national security. They retooled and started turning out tanks and aircraft and weapons. Even Singer Sewing Machine Co. made 1911A1 pistols. Our industries and the folks on our home front are what makes our military what it is.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Rhoda R says:

      And a huge factor in the globalists plot to disarm the US by stripping us of our manufacturing capability. Waiters and bus boys don’t build tanks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mopar2016 says:

      Very true, they used to make airplane engines in Kenosha WI. during WW2.
      I used to weld in the same building when it was AMC/Nash/Rambler many years later.

      Liked by 1 person

      • GB Bari says:

        Been There!
        Good cars! My father bought a Nash Statesman (either ’49 or ’50 – it was HUGE), 2 Rambler Classics (’62 & ’64), a ’68 Rebel, a ’74 Matador and an ’81 AMC Concord that he loved. They all gave him great service, were comfortable riding, and their straight 6-cyl engines were all unusually smooth running and very easy on gas.
        I myself bought a brand new 1970 Javelin SST 360 that I loved and now wish I’d kept.

        I visited the Kenosha mansion on 3rd Avenue (lakefront) that once belonged to Walter Alford who was the vice-president of the Nash Motor Company (predecessor, to American Motors) in the early 20th century but by the time I visited in the late ’90s it was owned and occupied by the national headquarters of the Barbershop Harmony Society.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. chojun says:

    I appreciate the idea that Japan and the US are competitors.

    I think it can be explained as simply as this: Japan and US compete on honorable terms of mutual respect.

    The Communist way is to take from those who have and give to those who want. The moral justification for theft typically comes with the denigration of the producers of wealth. In a zero-sum game, want exists because of greed. The scourge of wealth and prosperity is eliminated for the common good of the worker.

    Germany is an entirely different dynamic altogether – Post-war Europe has become entitled on their quest for a just society – they’ve entered the endless loop of compensation for failures of Socialist policy.

    The entire world is facing a reckoning forced by Trump turning off the spigot.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Perot Conservative says:

      And we subsidize their “social contract” by paying for their Defense.

      Maybe this pacifist attitude is why they let 1,000 young women be attacked one New Years in Cologne (Koln) by angelic migrants. I think Michael Savage asked, “Can you imagine 1,000 foreigners going into a Middle Eastern country, assaulting, molesting, and even raping a few dozen women, and the local men – do nothing?”

      Someone else suggested Socialism and teachers defanged men in France. France was founded by the Gauls, a ferocious people!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Ilcon says:

    Stratregery, A Darrell Waltrip term.


  18. Perot Conservative says:

    Europe, negotiating too difficult?

    Tell you what, interim change: reciprocal tariff rates. (Ross Perot position.)

    Liked by 1 person

    … through CREATIVE OWNERSHIP/PARTNERSHIP with Japan and the EU !!!

    The USTR’s mission is to eliminate the “National Security Threat” by EXPANDING the American-OWNED automotive sector … from its current market share of 12% globally and 22% locally.

    “… the United States Trade Representative will immediately pursue negotiations to address the national security threat caused by imports of FOREIGN-made automobiles and parts.”

    • “The United States defense industrial base depends on the American-OWNED automotive sector for innovation and technologies that are essential to our national security.”

    • “American-OWNED producers’ share of the global automobile market fell from 36 percent in 1995 to just 12 percent in 2017.”


    Liked by 5 people

  20. DJT2020 says:

    Brilliant move. China is reeling. Time to move on and let them come crawling back to the table.


  21. Kaco says:

    Auto sector and national security.

    My husband told me right after POTUS was elected that China was buying IAC (International Automotive Components), a critical supplier of our auto manufacturing. He asked me to send a message to Trump because it would severely affect our auto industry if it was ever screwed with. I did, and even might have sent a message to you, Sundance, asking that if you had better connections, if you could let POTUS know.

    I didn’t find out until last year or so, that IAC was Wilbur Ross’s old company, so they HAD to have known that transaction was going to happen!

    Now, I don’t know how this still jeopardizes our auto sector. It’s a damn shame China’s got their paws in it with owning this company.


  22. nuwildcat1977 says:

    Another example of how President Trump is a great negotiator. By engaging with Europe and Japan on autos (an important initiative in and of itself), he is telling the Chinese we are happy to collets tariffs from them while they play their games. Brilliant.


  23. wodiej says:

    I have no sympathy for the US auto industry. They overpay union workers and pass the cost onto the consumer with astronomical prices on their vehicles, which in many cases, are not built with quality materials. When I read the long list of attributes of a vehicle on a dealer website, it includes things that all vehicles have like air bags. This is an attempt to fool the consumer that they are getting something special. They also got a bailout which should have never happened.

    I will purchase a Honda or Toyota made in the US because they pay workers nicely and the car is built to last.


  24. Monadnock says:

    Drive-by posting….. (although I did read the entire article AND all comments)…

    I don’t recall the details of this particular engagement between US/Japan, but it appears from the photos that Abe is blowing out the candle on a small cake of some sort. I presume that the Trump Admin realized that it was ABE’s birthday and arranged for this small acknowledgement of that fact. Clearly Abe was pleased this was recognized.

    This is the sort of detail I expect an American President & staff to be on top of, and it appears that they were. It’s a little thing, but it serves as a lubricant for the smaller mechanizations of a relationship (personal, business and political), which enables expansion into larger arenas of cooperation.

    Having traveled overseas and been recognized in similar fashion, I can tell you that it definitely communicates that one’s hosts are seriously interested in you, your visit, and the purpose for your visit.

    I thank God that we are presently governed by adults who take their responsibilities to US seriously.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Curt says:

    I understand this is about the Japanese auto sector. However, I am reading that the USMCA has not been approved in the House with Pelosi not allowing a vote. Even after negotiating a good trade deal for everyone, the Democrats will destroy the country’s prosperity before giving President Trump a win. Just how sick is our body politic?


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