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Trump’s Tough Guy Theatrics No Match For China’s Economic Weapons

Posted March 14, 2018

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Peter Hartcher – Sydney Morning Herald)

In a famous scene in an Indiana Jones movie, the hero is confronted in a Cairo marketplace by an intimidatingly large man who produces a scimitar and flourishes it expertly. He grimaces ferociously at Jones as the crowd falls back in awe. But Jones, unconcerned by this dramatic display, cooly draws his pistol, shoots the swordsman and turns to his next task.

In today’s economic warfare between the US and China, America’s President has reached for an ancient weapon suited for another era, the tariff, a weapon favoured in the 17th century campaigns fought in the name of mercantilism. He’s brandishing it theatrically and the world media and markets are watching breathlessly. China is Donald Trump’s primary target. The government in Beijing is unhappy with this threat and promises to respond if injured.

But, in truth, this will be a minor inconvenience for the Chinese. “China is obviously the dominant force in the world” producing no less than half all steel made worldwide last year, 10 times the US output, says commodities analyst Jim Lennon of London research consultancy Red Door. “It’s a bit of a non-event because the US is such a small part of the world equation.” Click here to read more.