Signs of global trade shift

Donald Trump has talked tough on trade, signalling an inward shift in focus for the US, and a reassessing of trade agreements. Trump has already pulled the US out of the twelve country Trans-Pacific partnership.

But rather than wait and see what the erratic multi-messaging trump ends up doing there are signs the world is looking at trade without relying on the US.

So Trump’s ‘America First’ approach may end up being a double edged sword. If he slashes trade opportunities with countries around the world those countries may do some slashing of their own – or at least simply look elsewhere.

New York Times: Trump’s Trade War May Have Already Begun

America’s traditional allies are on the lookout for new friends.

They have heard the mantra “America First” from the new president, divining a Trump doctrine: global cooperation last. Europeans have taken note of Mr. Trump’s denigration of the European Union and his apparent esteem for the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. In Asia and Latin America, leaders have absorbed the deepening possibility that Mr. Trump will deliver on threats to impose punitive tariffs on Mexican and Chinese imports, provoking a trade war that will damage economic growth and eliminate jobs around the world.

Some allies are shifting focus to other potential partners for new sources of trade and investment, relationships that could influence political, diplomatic and military ties. Many are looking to China, which has adroitly capitalized on a leadership vacuum in world affairs by offering itself — ironies notwithstanding — as a champion for global engagement.

And China appears to be taking advantage of the opportunities effectively being handed to them by Trumps USA.

China is working to assume the mantle. President Xi Jinping of China last week used an address in Davos, to submit his nation’s bid as a reliable champion of expanded trade.

China does not have free elections. China jails labor organizers, while lavishing credit on state-owned enterprises. All of this makes Mr. Xi an ironic choice as an icon for free trade. Yet Mr. Xi’s speech was so successful that it won the embrace of business people and world leaders alike.

At a lunch in Davos two days after Mr. Xi’s address, a Berlin-based private equity fund manager, André Loesekrug-Pietri, stood in a dining room full of more than 100 people and predicted the dawning of a new era.

“We heard a Chinese president becoming the leader of the free world,” he said.




  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  February 6, 2017

    If Trumpy doesn’t want to play, he needn’t. Who’s going to beg him to ? Not us. Silly old fart-he’s well named. I noticed that some of the posters in the UK were saying that trump meant fart in England.

    If he’s going to refuse to not use devices like smartphones that presidents are not supposed to use because of hacking (as I understand it), the less the rest of us have to do with him, the better.He’s a liability.

    • David

       /  February 6, 2017

      “If he’s going to refuse to not use devices like smartphones that presidents are not supposed to use because of hacking (as I understand it), the less the rest of us have to do with him, the better.He’s a liability.”

      You mean like Hillary’s non-approved cell phones and email server?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 7, 2017

        Don’t be so silly. She wasn’t the president-and she’s been cleared of wrong-doing, which seems to have escaped your notice.. Trump IS the president, alas..Presidents are supposed not to take unnecessary risks.

        Obama used nothing more modern than a Blackberry, not because he knew no better but because of the rule about this-but Trump seems to think that the rules don’t apply to him.

  2. PDB

     /  February 6, 2017

    This is Trump’s biggest gaff – prices within the US can only go up if he heavily restricts trade, reduces the amount of US goods made outside the US, or imposes taxes on imports and how long will US consumers put up with that?

  3. Brown

     /  February 6, 2017

    China regularly produces cheap and nasty crap and will breach contracts in respect of quality to do so when customers are not watching. The future won’t belong to brutal Communist China any more than it belonged to the USSR.

    • Gezza

       /  February 6, 2017

      Well, the “neoliberal ‘Dogs of Trade’ – individual, corporate and national”, & globalist internationalists rather than nationalists, inside & outside the US, will most likely just continue to make use of China’s facilities for maximising their own personal enrichment without any conception of being a good citizen happily sharing their wealth amongst their compatriots to better their own communities, until something causes them to re-think their priorities. Whether that will be the US’s so-called President, or a whole series of events, is what I am now waiting to see.

  4. The neoliberal ‘Dogs of Trade’ – individual, corporate and national – have been Rogering each other, their competitors, their own populations AND their fellow nations for three decades or more …

    The outcome was surely inevitable … ?

    Now they’re KNOTTED!

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 6, 2017

    China has been walking all over Obama and now Trump is promising to fight back they are looking for leverage.

  6. David

     /  February 6, 2017

    The irony being that Trump is correct that China is manipulating their currency, they are just manipulating it up, not down, hence the massive capital outflows. It will be interesting to see what happens when the Yuan crashes.

  7. A businessman sets his negotiating stall out – and the world fears the end of trade. Please. The US needs certain things form the rest of the planet and it desires a lot of things as well. Huge employers in the US like Caterpillar are BIG exporters and will act as a deterrent on excessive protectionism. the know stifling world trade is not overly clever and I suspect Donald does as well. The reality will not be the rhetoric.