I think people underestimate on this count (and on many others). I think he knows how China will react and his objective is not a deal with China but rather to get Americans used to the idea that they will have to get a bit more resilient if they want to revive their fortunes. Exporting all manufacturing to Asia is no solution for any economy. In the long run, it impoverishes any country – my own is no exception to that. True, wages are higher in the US but China is not quite that cheap anymore as well. True, environmental standards are much higher and therefore onerous but even China finds out that it cannot possibly continue wrecking its own environment. A healthy world economy is not one where all manufacturing happens at one spot and then gets hauled across the globe. The current trade war builds up a feeling that things must come back to the US – and cheap clean energy provides just the right fertilizer. Trump plays the long game – we are not used to that from a Western politician.
Donald Trump’s trade battle with China is starting to look like a forever war — a quagmire with no end in sight, no clear path to a resolution and more potential land mines for an already weakening global economy.