Rift between China & the US
Trump administration has always viewed China as a powerful rival. The competition with the manufacturing giant has been quite tough last year. To gain an edge over China in the big race, President Trump rejected the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and issued tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese imports. Democratic candidates, however, believe in a more pleasant alternative to tackle the threat posed by the Asian giant.
So far, the economic implications of this change don’t look very positive.
Nearly all the 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls vying to take on Trump in the November 2020 election have rejected his tit-for-tat exchange of tariffs with China for hurting farmers, consumers, and businesses, they have not reached a consensus on how they would handle things differently. The action plan on the tariff war is quite complex to comprehend as U.S. consumer prices of Chinese imports continue to soar, and farmers lose their biggest export market as a result. Jared Bernstein, former economic adviser to Joe Biden, said that it’s a little tricky. He added that the challenge is to isolate yourself from a set of pretty disastrous policies from the Trump administration while signaling you are going to be harsh on China.
The Republican president has vowed to restore America’s trade relationship with the world, bring down trade deficits, and open up new markets to U.S. exports. His advisers are of the opinion that his tough measures against China will energize, not alienate, his base. It’s hard to say if their opinions are going to be beneficial for the country as China’s retaliatory actions adversely affect manufacturing and farming in the battleground states from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to Michigan for a second year now. Trump’s China gambit looks increasingly risky in the wake of slow economic growth. On the other hand, Democrats in Congress have long been critical of China and the economic and national security threats posed by the world’s second-largest economy.
That has left Democratic presidential candidates struggling to articulate their own get-tough positions without looking like they are adopting Trump’s bulldozing ways. The conflict with China has also exposed the same divisions within the party between moderates and progressives.
Moderates Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke, for example, would lift Trump’s tariffs altogether. Sen. Bernie Sanders, however, thinks tariffs are a valuable weapon to bring China to heel, and fellow liberal U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a trade agenda that appears to be just as protectionist as that of Trump.
It’s hard to ascertain if the trade war with China is like walking on thin ice or if its a successful method of yielding pressure on the manufacturing giant. Your voice matters, and your vote counts. Today’s the day, and now’s the moment!