Perhaps President Trump has to play the public pretend game to China’s panda mask presentations, but we do not.
The corporate U.S. media are pushing a hard narrative today surrounding claims by Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and wanting to create “calm” to work in earnest toward a U.S-China trade deal. However, those who follow the dynamic closely will remember Liu He’s role was changed back in July. Today’s Panda announcement is pure cunning.
Everything China is doing is intended to make it harder for President Trump to be aggressive in the confrontation:
BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said on Monday that China is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through calm negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict, a state-backed newspaper reported.
Liu, China’s top trade negotiator, was speaking at a tech conference in Chongqing in southwest China, the Chongqing Morning Post reported.
The comments come after U.S. President Donald Trump last week announced an extra 5% duty on some $550 billion of Chinese goods, the latest tit-for-tat move announced hours after China unveiled its retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. products. (read more)
Vice Premier Liu He is not China’s “top trade negotiator”. He was replaced by Chairman Xi Jinping’s hand selected Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan back in July.
China is playing their familiar Panda mask routine. Vice Premier Liu He takes the role of panda messaging to cover their interests; however, the reality is Zhong Shan is the hardline trade negotiator who makes the decisions.
Liu He is the Panda mask covering for the true disposition of Zhong Shan.
As CTH noted when it happened:
“China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan has been assigned the role to harden the position of the communist regime and override any panda presentations by Liu He. Vice-Premier Liu retains the panda mask, but Zhong is the ultimate control agent.
The message within Zhong’s placement tells the true nature of the Chinese position: Trade War !
Beijing attempts to downplay the position of their hard-line commerce addition, but the reality of the re-started trade discussions tells a more fulsome story. Chairman Xi is going to engage in full confrontational trade war with President Trump and the U.S. team.” (read more)
Ultimately an openly hostile and aggressive position by China is exactly what President Trump would prefer. Pretense is a painstakingly annoying negotiation strategy and President Trump is pre-disposed as a ‘get-to-the-nub-of-it’ type of negotiator. Down South the term would be: ‘he doesn’t suffer fools’.
The current status-quo, where international investment is paused to wait and see what happens (while corporations make alternate plans), is more favorable to President Trump than Chairman Xi. The current stalemate has nimble companies departing China, the Belt-and-Road initiatives shrinking and Beijing is burning through cash to subsidize their current manufacturing base. [The currency devaluation is ongoing]
This is why China needs to create a softer impression; misleading on their true motives and providing ammunition for the Beijing apologists. They do not want President Trump to increase the conflict and drive out U.S. companies.
Existing tariffs remain a financial drain on China, not U.S. consumers. In actuality U.S. inflation continues to decline. Meanwhile President Trump is hitting Xi with public questions about Beijing purchasing U.S. agricultural products; a previous promise.
In actuality President Trump knows the purchase promises were the typical false-promises of Beijing; but, well, the lies have a value in calling out Panda’s duplicity.
The potential tariffs (25 percent on $300+ billion in goods) sit on the table as a weapon President Trump would love to start using. However, in the dance with the dragon Lighthizer and Ross have to wait for the panda mask to fully drop. Currently Chairman Xi Jinping is trying to keep the financial/investment class from noticing the panda mask is slipping. However, that ruse can’t last too much longer. Thus the dance continues.
At the 30,000/ft level China appears to have accepted that President Trump isn’t going to concede an inch. Therefore their position in the trade stand-off is timed to exhaust around the 2020 presidential election. Despite what the U.S. media are claiming, Beijing is making very visible moves to withstand more than a year of status quo strain.
All of the heavily pushed media narratives today surrounding Liu He statements are simply Wall Street multinationals, through their media allies, trying to fend off the confrontation between the U.S. and China. There are trillions at stake.
This is a battle between the U.S. and China, but also between U.S. multinationals who are financially positioned/vested on the side of Beijing. The U.S. Wall Street multinationals are trying to protect their Chinese investments by pushing a narrative that China is open to honest and fair negotiations; they are not.