Saturday, August 17, 2019

Quora: Did the US just win the trade war?

Quora: Did the US just win the trade war by imposing tariffs on all of China's exports?

Mike Neville, 40 years in the customs brokerage biz. Answered

ALL of China’s exports don’t go to the USA so only a small fraction of their exports are affected.
Trump is now out of things to threaten to tax. What does he do next?

If Americans were buying less of China’s goods because of the higher price China just devalued it’s currency, or allowed it to sink a bit, so the price to the American consumer should remain the same. We’ll see, that will depend on the honesty of the American importers and retailers.
Further more, the currency devaluation has made Chinese goods even cheaper to every other country so we will be buying more. Thanks for the discount Trump.

Now let’s discuss China’s response.
China is buying no more agricultural products from the USA. This is not a drop in sales or a sales slump, these sales are GONE. Possibly never to return. 

The Republicans will bitch when the next Democrat President has to go begging to the Chinese to please buy a soy bean or two but remember who caused it. Russian and Brazilian farmers send their thanks.
China is buying no more lobster from the USA. The entire east coast lobster fishery depended on sales to China. Canada’s east coast lobstermen send their thanks.
China has canceled all purchases of American bourbon. When you live in a country of over a billion people you probably need a bourbon or two every night. Not sure who they will switch these purchases to as bourbon is a peculiarly American product. But it won’t be Budweiser.
China has canceled plans to buy new Boeing aircraft. Ouch that one has to hurt. Boeing is not doing so well these days.
And probably hundreds of others that I haven’t heard of yet, and thousands of little orders.

These tactics are causing drastic possibly permanent harm to specific parts of the American economy. These are not duty rates that are as transient as American Presidents. The Chinese plan in centuries, not 4 year Presidential terms. The Chinese President has no voters to answer to, he is in office for life.

While the American public and politicians dither about exactly who is paying Trump’s duties (not tariffs, a tariff is a book), or whether consumer prices are up a dime at Walmart. Thousands of farms are facing dire hardship or worse, hundreds of lobster boats are tying up for the last time, Jack Daniels is rolling over in his grave and Boeing workers wonder how secure their jobs are.

And China has just begun to fight. Their list of things they might not buy anymore is far from exhausted.

For the first time in 15 years Chinese tourism in the USA was down in 2019. That’s a 20 billion dollar a year business. Would be a shame if it dwindled to nothing. And the U.S. can’t retaliate. How many Americans vacation in China? Both countries have issued travel warning about each other.

So you think the U.S.A. is winning? You don’t own a farm or a lobster boat.

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