The world isn't so sure yet which Trump will show up for the long haul. The Chinese government, too, is still deciding how to react to the new U.S. president.
TOKYO — The world has spent months scrambling to decode Donald Trump, unsuccessfully in most cases. Some of us still remain in disbelief at the spectacle unfolding in front of our eyes.
Apparently, the same goes for China.
The Financial Times reported, “Beijing censors have ordered media outlets to tone down their reporting of Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president, as the Communist party weighs its response to a new administration that threatens to tear up the rule book of US-China relations.”
It is still too early to tell whether the United States and China are about to start a trade war by launching a two-way tariff tiff. Political campaign rhetoric aside, there remains a strong chance that the two countries will settle for a pro-growth agenda, each driven by its business and economic needs.
In the semiconductor industry where M&A deals have been rampant, veteran U.S. executives told us they expect scrutiny by CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) — as China angles to buy the U.S. chip vendors — to get worse, “especially under the Trump administration.”
But I also heard an illuminating observation. A U.S. chip company executive based in Silicon Valley, speaking anonymously, said, “Before the election, a high-ranking Chinese official, who sits above China’s Big Fund, told me that he was hoping for Trump to win. Asked why, he said, ‘Because he has no scruples.’”
In the Chinese analysis, an amoral American president is a good thing. “With Trump, everything is negotiable,” the American chip executive explained.
Inaugural speech I happen to be visiting Japan this week. The tone of press coverage about the new administration took a 180-degree turn after Donald Trump took office Friday. A post-election mood of celebration and hope made a sharp shift to fear, uncertainty and loathing.
Indeed, for news consumers outside the United States who haven’t been inundated with 24-hour cable news coverage of the sausage-makings in the new administration, Trump’s inaugural speech came as a rude shock. I found it fascinating that many Japanese pundits, before Trump was sworn in, had simply assumed that Trump would offer a much more benign and gracious view of the world in his first utterance as president.
What they heard, however, was the new president’s familiar dystopian vision of the US economy – a country in economic shambles, “with factories shuttered and left [the U.S.] shores, the wealth of the middle class ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world,” as he put it in his speech.
If there had been any lingering doubts about the sincerity of Trump’s nationalist campaign, now is the time to put them to rest, it seems. The new president couldn’t have made it clearer where he stands last Friday when he said:
From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
As the president was sworn in, the new administration wasted no time posting its policy shifts on its website.
As for trade, the Trump administration reiterated its rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, negotiated the Obama administration with Japan and ten other Pacific Rim economies. The Trump White House also plans to move as soon as Monday to notify Canada and Mexico that it plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into force in 1994.
I'd have appreciated it if your headline had read something like, "Trump: Man Without Scruples, China Official Says". Then it would have been obvious that you were quoting someone else's opinion and not Trump-bashing on your own. For my part, I'm hopeful yet skeptical about the Trump presidency. Great discussion!
Trade deals are not written 'just by lawyers', they are written by business groups and their lobbyists. These trade deals are bad, worse than NAFTA, so cancelling them is a good move (it is popular protest that caused Trump and Clinton to move against them, not their own ethics). What will replace them? From Trump, he just appointed an employment guy who says there should be no minimum wage whilst he took home a billion without tax, go figure.
Will Trump 'bring back jobs'. While he is in bed with the companies that exported the jobs, I can't see this happening. US industry exported jobs for low wages, no environmental protection (look at E Asia and China pollution levels), tax dodging, 16 hour days, child labor etc.
Trump has said nothing that hints at worker rights or safety, nothing that shows real jobs or investment in manufacturing R&D, just words about brining it back home and inftastructure (which will be built with imported steel and concrete).
Trump knows nothing about manufacturing, his appointees know nothing about it and he has banned thousands of engineers from entering the country.
The theory of comparative advantage brought us free trade. It does work and has been proven in practice. The problem with it is that it causes disruption and it is the disruption that has not been properly managed.
Stronger patent protection respecting the funding and location for inventions, funding of automation and funding of education are good tools for competition. Insisting on fair currency valuation is high on this list too along with penalties for dumping, government creation of competitive industries and other similar means are good tools too. Tariffs are also good to penalize cheaters.
Is China a cheater? You bet. Do others cheat? Yes others do too. Is action required to level the playing field - certainly.
Will the benefits of comparative advantage be lost if the measures penalize everyone. Yes they certainly will and inflation will be rampant. It is a careful balancing act and it will be easy to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Despite the popular misconception that the Internet a vast array of silos, each strictly dedicated to a single topic, it is a forum for all ideas, and it is especially appropriate for politics to be a vital ingredient in every discussion. Politics pervades our lives. Anyone who suggests that some topics should be — or can be — uncontaminated by politics simply betrays an ignorance of politics, and its role in our lives, that should preclude him or her from the discussion. If you don't appreciate the significance of Donald Trump's ascension to the most powerful position in the world, and his potential now to affect your life and your profession, you need to take a crash course in reality.
@Bert... "This business about globalization is really quite dyslexic. Neither the left wingers nor the right wingers can make cogent and consistent arguments.....etc"
You've hit the nail on the head. And not just with Globalisation either. There are people who said the sky would fall if Obama became president (and that it has fallen during his presidency). Likewise that it will fall under Trump. Neither is true. There are great presidents and mediocre presidents, and if all else fails you can impeach (I wish we had that option in Zimbabwe with Mugabe... and we can't even do that in Australia as far as I know...) But you won't know till they've been in a few years.
I do like about Trump that he will talk about the elephants in the room, and promise to do something about them - something you can almost be locked up for in Australia. But I detest the fact that while all these patriotic types (and we have them too) almost invariably think Climate Change is BS - they are not patriotic enough to think about the future country of their children.
Right wingers are invariably arrogant - it seems to come with the territory. Left wingers make much more noise and throw their toys out of the cot if they don't get their own way.
When someone comes along who puts his country first in all matters - trade, jobs, economy and climate - I'll certainly vote for him.
It would be best to express your partisan plotical views and baiting headlines on appropriate forums. If UMB or the EE-Times has decided to publish these poltical views as part of its reporting then it has ceased to be a technical publication and has started the slide towards poltical rhetorical regurgitation that leads eventually to faking news. Its hard for me to see an author that uses a bait headlines like this as anything more than just another agitator. Don't let this publication go the way of the NFL.
David, I have to believe that the businessman in Trump knows, deep down, that businesses cannot compete if they actually attempt to move back to the 1950s. That much will never happen. Any manufacturing brought back will have to be very highly automated, or it will simply not remain viable.
This business about globalization is really quite dyslexic. Neither the left wingers nor the right wingers can make cogent and consistent arguments. It is totally inescapable that globalization works to throttle back the wealth of developed countries, and it is equally totally inescapable that without globalization, the developing countries will go backwards in their development efforts.
They are certainly scared of the uncertainty caused by Trump. Millions of dollars in plant investments, delicate labor contracts, and product development and production strategies all at under threat of a tweet.
In most of the cases of automotive jobs changes, they have been planned and written into union labor contracts, a year or more before Trump showed up.
Hey, you still have to give credit where credit is due. This "would have could have," from NPR, in a day of unbelievable press bias, is simply not credible. Trump is attempting to bring manufactruring back, in a way no recent president has done, and Trump has also addressed the problems of two expensive defense programs head-on, even before being elected. I'm referring to the F-35 and Air Force One.
People could ALSO have wrung their hands in anguish, in 2008, with hype about Obama potentially selecting, oh you know, Al Sharpton as Secretary of State. Some people used his middle name Hussein, to draw all sorts of nonsensical conclusions. The only difference between those people, and the legions of hand wringers today, is that the hand wringers today feel totally unconstrained. No reason to measure their words. Just go ahead and assume the worst, and then state it as already being fact.