Understanding Trump's Trade War Tactics in One Picture


For the 42nd time, Trump reports trade war progress with China.

Bloomberg reports China, U.S. to Hold Trade Talks ‘in October’ as Mistrust Remains.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He agreed to a visit “in early October” during a telephone call on Thursday morning Beijing time with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, according to a statement from China’s Ministry of Commerce. A cautious statement from the USTR’s office confirmed that ministerial-level discussions will take place in “the coming weeks,” without specifying when.

Liars Poker

On August 26, I reported Trump Claims "Meaningful" Talks at the "Highest Level", China Doesn't Confirm

A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative didn’t respond to questions about when the call took place and between whom.

Asked later in the day to clarify whom the calls were with, Mr. Trump said: “I don’t want to talk about calls. We’ve had calls. We’ve had calls at the highest levels.”

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported Trump Warns China Not to Stall Talks.

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It seems the phone call Trump announced on August 26 ago has finally been placed.

With that confirmation, please look on the handy-dandy chart at the top to figure out where we are.

Trade War Cycle

Is anyone keeping track?

I just made up a number "for the 42nd time". Perhaps its on the low side.

China Cycle Spinning Fast

The China cycle is spinning extremely fast right now.

Progression Example

Important Note

The cycle with China repeats at a rate 3-10 times faster than the cycle with Europe which in turn is faster than the cycle with Mexico. Track each country individually although the cycles may overlap on occasion.

When things are purportedly going very well with China, that's when Trump is most likely to make an attack out of the blue on someone else, typically Germany.

On a timeline basis, I sense an attack on Germany or the EU coming soon. But as noted above, we may need a more China cycles to be sure.

Stop the Damn Lies

For a Trump trade refresher course on how the full cycle works historically, please see Dear President Trump: Stop the Damn Trade Lies

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (29)
No. 1-10

Wow, good to see what I've been trying to figure out for months put in to pictures/words!

I think this stuff is done to give somebody(ies) a heads-up some hours before it happens, to put in a few appropriate orders.


This is all politics. The people who wanted to move American manufacturing overseas were American CEOs and bankers. But Trump can't attack them, he's one of them. So he has these fake attacks on China to keep the schleps voting for him. And vote for him they will! Plus, think of the money he can make. Call for tariffs, stock market tanks, put his money in and announce talks, ka-Ching. Take profits. Rinse, repeat.

Wasn't there something about a wall? How did that go for the schleps?


I think we're winning the trade war. Companies are starting to move manufacturing out of China. Not necessarily back to the US. Other countries with cheap labor. It won't help us much, but it will hurt China. Which I suspect is the real goal. They'll deny any issues until things collapse in order to save face.


China is seeking world domination! The past dufussess played into their hands for greater financial results. Now there is a scintilla of awareness that these people of the yellow kingdom want us dead.


"Chinese Vice Premier Liu He agreed to a visit “in early October” during a telephone call on Thursday morning"


China is a house of cards

I think their position is much more precarious than most think. What happened to all the talk a few weeks ago that China was going to let Trump twist in the wind for the next year ... lose re-election ... then deal with compliant Democrat Administration?


No such thing as a trade war -- it's an oxymoron. Trade means cooperation, when you are trading you are cooperating, not winning or losing. When you stop cooperating you stop trading. When war starts, trade is inhibited. Typically a war is destructive, but winning the war could lead to taking possession of spoils and conquests. Such winnings are the opposite of trading.


The thing is, it always works. Gold dropped big time today after the announcement. The stock market is back up. So the fools believe it.

Country Bob
Country Bob

We could do a search and replace on this story, substituting "Xi" everywhere the story reads "Trump" , and it wouldn't change a thing. There is too much cult of personality in the media coverage of this China / US conflict.

Both countries are between a rock and a hard place. Both countries have to make painful near term adjustments in order to succeed long term.

Wall Street will continue bobbing up and down, because that volatility generates profits for the banks. They are not being evil, it is price discovery and it happens in all markets. Even your local farmers market does this.

The US needs to detox from too much government stimulus -- its blowing bubbles in health costs, in college costs, in property taxes, in housing prices. The US could modernize factories -- more Intel chip fab plants, fewer Government Motors car plants -- but this would require the education system to go back to being about education. Chip manufacturing requires a better educated work force, not grade inflation and racial quotas. Social justice nonsense only leads to coffee barista jobs. Reading comprehension and advanced math are required to succeed.

This is the case no matter who is in Washington DC. The politicians cannot fix the problem; many of them are the problem (or at least a big part of the problem).

Debt, no matter what interest rate the central planners put on it, will not fix a poor education system. It will only divert R&D spending into paying interest on debt. Cheaper financing of houses will not fix property taxes used to fund cushy government jobs. Community financing health insurance and mandating coverage we don't need will not reduce health care costs -- it just redistributes costs we cannot afford.

Candidate Trump was right: drain the swamp. Especially if the swamp doesn't like it. President Trump needs to listen to candidate Trump.

Country Bob
Country Bob

Can't help but mention that Comrade Bernie Sanders told a baby to hush up at last night's DNC "global warming" debate. Bernie started rambling about his need for more government power to further screw up the health care system -- and the baby started crying when it realized how much debt Bernie's plan would impose on the future.

And characteristic of politicians everywhere, Bernie told the baby to quiet down.

That is socialism in a nutshell. Screw the voters, screw the future even more -- benefit the political class only.


You missed the pump and dump sections. It’s like Headley Lemar was elected president.

Global Economics