‘Phase one’ trade deal is Trump’s early Christmas gift to Americans

The successful conclusion of what’s been widely described as “phase one” of a more comprehensive US-Chinese trade deal is President Trump’s early Christmas gift to Americans for saving them from suffering a spike in prices during the holiday shopping season that would have certainly occurred had the threatened tariffs entered into effect.

Americans of all political persuasions should be thankful that their leader reached the agreement otherwise it would have been more financially difficult for them to buy gifts for their family and friends. Now, however, they can rest easy, especially since some of the previous tariffs have been halved as a goodwill gesture towards reaching “phase two” by sometime next year.

Trump didn’t just reach the deal so that his compatriots can buy more during the holidays though that certainly might have been his partial intent. Although the American economy has shown its resilience since the onset of the trade war, the country is entering a heated election season next year, and its leader doesn’t want to take any chances that the trade war could spiral out of control.

From a self-interested perspective aimed at securing his re-election, Trump would rather compromise at this very sensitive domestic political moment than to contend with a possibly declining economy on top of his impeachment proceedings, which are expected to occupy a sizeable proportion of his time in the coming year. Instead of concentrating on the trade war, he’d rather put his efforts into preventing his impeachment.

Americans are already sharply divided over whether or not Trump should even remain in office until the election, so the last thing that he wants is for them to have a miserable shopping season the year before hand, which could be used against him by his political opponents in order to strike at an emotive issue that might have potentially affected hundreds of millions of people.

If his countrymen purchase more during this holiday season and American businesses receive a comfortable boost out of it, Trump can portray “phase one” trade deal as having been an early Christmas gift to his people. It doesn’t matter that, as was explained, he also undertook his decision for partially self-interested reasons since voters care more about their pocketbooks than anything else ahead of elections.

With that in mind and surprisingly enough in spite of the trade war, Trump’s running for re-election on an impressive track record of successes. Macro-economically speaking, the US is doing pretty well, and “phase one” trade deal will likely remain on a positive trajectory given that the two sides committed to deepened economic interdependence.

The farmers which hold disproportionate influence in the country’s “swing states” will benefit from China’s decision to increase American agriculture imports, which in turn will make it more difficult for the Democrats to exploit their rising resentment over the past few years. As the saying goes, “all’s well that ends well,” and so long as their businesses are back on track before the election, they might not remember their earlier losses.

Should everything proceed as planned with next year’s second phase of the agreement, Trump will then be able to boast of balancing the trade deficit with China in ways that his predecessors weren’t able to, which could inspire his nationalist base to come out to the polls in droves and might also encourage Americans who are on the fence about him to see their leader in a comparatively better light.

Of course, anything could happen and the deal might not even succeed if unforeseen problems arise, but Trump has an interest in ensuring that “phase one” of the agreement becomes the early Christmas gift that keeps on giving all throughout the rest of the year so that he stands a better chance at winning re-election. (from Chinadaily)

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