Trade war: While Trump brags his feat against China, experts say he got peanuts
US President Donald Trump on Monday, May 21, posted a series of tweets defending himself against criticism that he was being too soft on China over trade despite his hard gesturing so far.
Putting the blame on his predecessor Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, Trump tweeted: "Why didn't President Obama & the Democrats do something about Trade with China, including Theft of Intellectual Property etc.? They did NOTHING!"
He added: "Fair Trade, plus, with China will happen!"
In another tweet, Trump said: "China has agreed to buy massive amounts of ADDITIONAL Farm/Agricultural Products - would be one of the best things to happen to our farmers in many years!"
Observers said the US president was busy defending him and blaming others since many - including manufacturing experts and at least one Republican lawmaker - believed he might have ceded too much and too soon to the Chinese while making trade negotiations with them, said one Vox report.
On Saturday, May 19, Washington and Beijing came up with a joint statement following their second round of discussion. The talks aimed at stopping China from using allegedly unfair trade practices against the US and also to lessen their trade deficit with the US and address other issues that made a trade war inevitable.
As per the joint statement, China would raise its purchase of American energy and agricultural goods besides changing its practices on intellectual property.
The statement didn't please the critics who felt Trump was giving up his country's position and Marco Rubio, the Republican Senator from Florida said in a tweet that the Chinese did not lose much since "in exchange they get no tariffs, can keep stealing intellectual property & can keep blocking our companies while they invest in the U.S. without limits."
Vox said in its report that Trump found himself on a sticky wicket. On one hand, he seemed to have temporarily warded off the possibility of a trade war with China while on the other, the "vague terms of the agreement" that are now in the public domain suggest that he couldn't manage much success for the US despite making big claims.
Trump's excitement over the fact that China will buy more agricultural products from the US also didn't convince the experts. According to Vox, the experts felt Trump was treating a small matter in a big way and the Chinese could offer that deal to any American president, it cited Brad Setser, an expert on China at the Council on Foreign Relations, telling the Washington Post.