How Trump Blew His Hand in Trade-Deal Negotiations with China

President Donald Trump greets Chinese Vice Premier Liu He after signing phase one of the U.S.-China trade agreement in the East Room of the White House, January 15, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
The president has tied his own hands, foreclosing the alternative strategies that could affect the outcomes he ostensibly wants.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE A fter concluding a Phase I trade deal with China in January, President Trump has lately taken to hinting that there might not be a Phase II. “I’m not interested right now in talking to China,” Trump told CBS news last week, before pivoting to criticize Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. His sudden souring on the trade-deal negotiations recalled nothing so much as his engagement with North Korea, which likewise started with a passionate, public commitment before fizzling out without having accomplished anything concrete. Andy Warhol once opined that “Art is whatever you can get away with.” Trump apparently feels

Frank Lavin served as undersecretary for international trade in the George W. Bush administration. He is currently the CEO of Export Now, a firm that helps U.S. brands in China.

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