I picked up on this story in Reuters regarding Chinese attempts to form trade solidarity with the European Union.

In meetings in Brussels, Berlin and Beijing, senior Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Liu He and the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, have proposed an alliance between the two economic powers and offered to open more of the Chinese market in a gesture of goodwill.

In a commentary on Wednesday, China’s official Xinhua news agency said China and Europe “should resist trade protectionism hand in hand”.

“China and European countries are natural partners,” it said. “They firmly believe that free trade is a powerful engine for global economic growth.”

Later it says that the EU is reserved on the proposal:

Despite Trump’s tariffs on European metals exports and threats to hit the EU’s automobile industry, Brussels shares Washington’s concern about China’s closed markets and what Western governments say is Beijing’s manipulation of trade to dominate global markets.

“We agree with almost all the complaints the U.S. has against China, it’s just we don’t agree with how the United States is handling it,” another diplomat said.

I’d have to say that I share the opinion that the bullying, tariffs, and overt nastiness in which my government is currently engaged is not the way to handle the problem, partly because it damages innocent people on all sides while foreclosing opportunities to resolve disputes in a spirit of political goodwill.

To begin with, the Trump administration has decided to deal with perceived trade unfairness lone wolf style, all at once. I actually think that puts Trump at a disadvantage because as larger than life as the POTUS is, he is just one guy when the real power of the US is strength in unity. In order to be successful in accomplishing any aim, Trump really needs public support; and it’s hard to understand and get on board with what he’s trying to accomplish when all we can see doing is “attacking” trade without any specificity, including what appears to be not only a declaration of economic war on the world, but on average people domestically as well. He isn’t enlisting or inspiring the cooperation of the general public,  or providing specific details about what he’s doing and why, or breaking it down into digestible pieces. Because we are a nation of hundreds of millions, it’s more effective to elicit our focused support on one thing at time.

Take China for example. I am going to pick on Apple here, though it is not the only “victim,” Apple did the wrong thing by capitulating to Chinese demands in secret because whether Apple management believes it or not, they are not alone. When approached by the Chinese to be violated in such a way as IP transfer, in my view, a more effective way to handle it would have been to not cooperate and to scream like a stuck pig, shouting about what was taking place from every rooftop. Then, just watch how people in the free world, people who are willing to stand up for what we view as right, respond to the truth.

I can only speak for myself, but I would be more than happy to voluntarily participate in covering Apple’s back with the power of a crowd of likeminded people and the things we can accomplish together, rather than be kept in the dark about what has transpired and then be forced by my government to blindly engage in the dispute at the risk of everything I have in an opaque and seemingly unjustified policy response that has the appearance of a rabid trade war that I do not want. What is happening now completely violates every notion of liberty and nearly every reasonable public sensibility.

 

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