In a Nonsensical Tweet, Trump Proposes "Complete Decoupling From China"

Mish

President Trump claims a complete decoupling from China is possible but not even his top trade representative agrees.

Trump's Tweet

Decoupling Dispute

Trump says U.S. has the Option of 'Decoupling' from China, but that contradicts his trade chief.

On Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers that "I don't think [decoupling is] a policy or reasonable policy option at this point." Lighthizer told House lawmakers that the U.S.-China trade deal is on track. 

Decoupling Silliness

One look at the the above chart shows that Trump proposes reducing a $350 billion deficit with China. 

But Trump's claim actually goes beyond that.

US Cross Trade With China

US Cross Trade With China

Cross trade with China is close to $600 billion per year. 

"Complete decoupling" realistically means no dependence on China, imports or exports.

Even if Trump misspoke, and he really means a trade deficit of zero, not even his trade rep agrees. 

Mish

Comments (32)
No. 1-19
Tengen
Tengen

It's an election year and he has to campaign on something. The 2016 promises are all out the window so this could be a suitable replacement.

As an added bonus it turns attention overseas, away from our bevy of domestic problems.

Anda
Anda

It is certainly possible, the US could seal its border and trade with no one and still continue, it has enough resources I think to at least get by, if not even improve in some ways. I mean (at least once subsidy cheques run out) there will be many millions looking for some kind of work and everyone seems concerned about that ?

davebarnes2
davebarnes2

Why not just do a massive first strike against China? After all, what is the point of having nuclear weapons if you are not going to use them?
Asking for a friend.

Zardoz
Zardoz

Idiot promises for idiot voters.

Rusty Nail
Rusty Nail

Are we going to talk about the thing where he asked China for help getting reelected?

njbr
njbr

He's squirming, caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he's going to break the jar (or at least pretend he's going to). He and his family have depended on favors from China for years. And it is clear that the US under his leadership has backed down repeatedly over issues like territorial claims and concentration/re-education camps.

...According to an unredacted passage shown to Vanity Fair by a source, Trump’s ask is even more crudely shocking when you read Trump’s specific language. “Make sure I win,” Trump allegedly told Xi during a dinner at the G20 conference in Osaka, Japan last summer. “I will probably win anyway, so don’t hurt my farms.… Buy a lot of soybeans and wheat and make sure we win.”...

The problem is, like a $5 (ahem) he's willing to sell himself to so many people that they are getting nervous about what they'll catch.

tokidoki
tokidoki

Trump's obviously talking about the Space Force.

In the future, when the ONLY thing left from the former US is the Space Force, we would have achieved true decoupling from China, heck the whole human race.

Houston, we have lift off!!!

So much winning!!!

njbr
njbr

The Republican president said he believed both China and Ukraine should look into 2020 presidential hopeful Biden and his businessman son Hunter, and described the impeachment probe as “crap.”

Trump told reporters at the White House, “And by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”

Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have offered no evidence for their assertions of corruption regarding former Vice President Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic Party nomination to run against Trump.

Questioned about whether he had asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to investigate, Trump said, “I haven’t, but it’s certainly something we can start thinking about.”

CzarChasm-Reigns
CzarChasm-Reigns

A "reasonable Trump" would be an oxymoron, would it not?

Mr. Purple
Mr. Purple

I forget ... are we using tea leaves or goat entrails to decipher Trump's meaning now?

ToInfinityandBeyond
ToInfinityandBeyond

Trump’s deranged followers may believe everything he says but they are largely non college educated males. Unlikely any sane individual actually believes anything that comes out of his mouth. So much winning.

libertea
libertea

Free US businesses to trade with China, regardless of whatever tariffs and trade restrictions China imposes. US businesses should be able to trade on their own terms. Uphold the principles of Liberty. Let China do as it wishes. Let US citizens do as they wish. What a concept!

Fl0yd
Fl0yd

Mish et al, we hold two principles that are inconsistent with each other. First free trade, ignoring counter party practices such as unbridled pollution, abusive labor practices, and horrific human rights record. On the other hand we claim to have standards about the very same aspects.

However, shunning a counter party does have unintended consequences. Often the abused workers are impacted, less so the ruling party. This might impact negatively our own economy. Etc. One would hope that open interaction might affect positively the other party. And, there is the argument that trade reduces the odds of a violent conflict.

Then again, conducting business with a shady party might lead to some of the unacceptable aspects to trickle or bleed over into our society. This alone might be the heaviest argument against such trade.

Invigilator
Invigilator

One striking problem for us Brits is that Trump weakens our claims that the UK can successfully decouple from the EU (in the bits we want to decouple from) & P.M. Boris looks even more of a prat for relying on Trump to reconnect with us.

Blurtman
Blurtman

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘decoupling’ is."

Webej
Webej

Yes let's have no more antibiotics starting tomorrow, and most other medicines (all imported). And doing without all those rare earth minerals, etc. Put at end to hi-tech manufacturing and create insurmountable problems producing military gear.

I could imagine saying you want to be self-reliant and work towards programs to realize that, but decoupling is kind of like cutting off your nose to spite your face, catastrophically stupid.

pvguy
pvguy

The question is over what time frame. We could not decouple from China by the end of the year. We could do it in twenty years, ten if we pushed it. We know how to make everything we get from China, but we can't match them on cost when they have no EPA, no endangered species act, no OSHA, and no Fair Labor Standards Act.

The US made a decision to export its pollution to where it's out of sight, or was. Most of the plastic in the Pacific Ocean is from China. About 80% of the mercury in raining down in Western Washington Is from Chinese coal plants. The pollution isn't as far out of sight as hoped, but it's better than having it here, and we still get the low prices.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

A while back DJT tweeted about making China pay for covid (several hundred $billion, iirc).

I'm waiting ... patiently ...

Captain Ahab
Captain Ahab

A complete decoupling is entirely possible, and very quickly. It's called war. The only question is when. Sooner is better. Wait and both sides become more powerful.

The only viable alternatives:

  1. the US is able to reduce China's economic power.
  2. the US accepts secondary status and does what it is told.
  3. History does not support a third alternative

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