U.S. steel jobs have been mostly lost due to technological change (i.e., robots, not China). U.S. aluminum jobs have been mostly lost to places with cheaper electricity (i.e., Iceland, which is coincidentally also not China).
.. Right now China isn’t even among the top 10 producers of U.S. steel imports. The top country we import from is Canada ..
.. If hurting Canada is Trump’s best strategy for intimidating China, our next step should be maple-syrup taxes.
.. Every time, he has played right into Chinese hands.
Take, for instance, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This 12-country pact deliberately excluded China; it was to make sure the United States rather than China got to “write the rules of the road for trade in the 21st century,” as then-President Barack Obama put it.
.. Their version stripped out some of the conditions won by U.S. negotiators, such as increased intellectual property protections for pharmaceuticals.
.. After it became clear the Chinese constitution would change to allow President Xi Jinping to hold power indefinitely, Trump didn’t criticize the authoritarian move. Instead, in comments secretly recorded at a fundraiser last weekend, he expressed admiration for Xi as “a great gentleman” who “treated us tremendously well when I went over there.” Xi, Trump cheered, had just made himself “president for life. . . . I think it’s great.”
.. Trump jokingly added that “maybe we will give that a shot someday,” the line that got the most attention. But the comments letting Xi off the hook, in fact praising Xi for consolidating power, were far more consequential. They signal to China that not only do we not care about the country’s increasing authoritarianism; we encourage it.
China’s most dangerous possible export to the United States isn’t a metal. Increasingly, it’s a style of political leadership.