Just imagine Trump wins 2020 – as I think he will. China is already hurting bad. But they might want to push things out to 2020 hoping that there might be someone more agreeable to them in the White House after that election. I think they will be in for a horrible surprise. They are gambling the little substance they still have now. What will they play with after 2020? Oh, I said in another post today that it’s not a good idea to make customers think too hard about their alternatives. But that’s what China does. US buyers go for alternative suppliers and find out that some deals they find in Vietnam or some other countries are much better. And some investors find that using cheap and clean US-made energy plus robotics in the US drives costs to the point where production into the US makes more sense than in China. But then again, China can only delay the inevitable. And when I personally face an undesirable situation I prefer it hard and quick over a long agony. That’s not how politicians see it though.
Unless Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his advisors are completely incompetent, there’s only one way to interpret Beijing’s list of U.S. products that will be slapped with retaliatory tariffs on June 1 if the trade war with the United States isn’t somehow deescalated pronto: China increasingly realizes that it’s playing a losing hand in the trade war, and its counter-moves have been made mainly for public consumption in China.