Donald Trump has been tweeting about his about turn on calling China a currency manipulator. At least he’s actually correct about what they’re doing–at the moment at least. If anything China is intervening to keep the value of the yuan up, not down. So, as I say, he’s correct that China isn’t a manipulator in the sense normally used, making the yuan and thus exports cheap. However, there’s another thing that rather worries. Trump’s explanation is that China is cooperating over North Korea so at the very least realpolitik means to go easy upon them. And that’s to make trade subject to politics which is something I always think is rather dangerous:
Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2017
As others explain:
President Donald Trump suggested Sunday that his about-face on labeling China a currency manipulator was a strategic move meant to entice the country’s cooperation on North Korea.
I would have thought that this was a tactical move rather but that’s just a whinge about language there:
President Trump on Sunday defended his recent about-face on calling China a currency manipulator, saying he welcomes the county’s help in dealing with North Korea.
Well, maybe that’s a good idea and maybe it isn’t. Myself, as probably the only person you will read out there who has actually had a business relationship with North Korea, I wouldn’t trust them an inch and most certainly not with nuclear weapons. So ganging up with any- and every- one against them is just fine for me.
On the campaign trail, Trump said he would designate China as a currency manipulator on the first day of his presidency to “force China to the negotiating table.” Last week, he changed that stance and said they are not a currency manipulator in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
As I say, he’s actually correct in this comment about China being a manipulator. However, I always worry when trade becomes a political matter, a football almost, in this manner. For the point of trade is to make us all richer. It does that by allowing us access to those cheap imports, that’s the point and purpose of it. And if we’re to be allowed access to those things that we desire because some J Foreigner is being accommodating to us on a political matter then clearly there’s also the possibility that we’ll be denied that increase to our incomes by being denied the imports of someone who is not playing footsie with the government.
I’m fine with the two things, being against N Korea’s nuclear ambitions and as China isn’t a currency manipulator then declaring them not to be. But I do worry when trade becomes a political pawn–for who knows when the decision is going to swing the other way to our impoverishment?