Mnuchin Says Trade Talks Are Broken As China Calls U.S. Enemy of All

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday admitted that trade talks with China had “broken down” while China was calling the United States the “enemy of all” because of Donald Trump’s trade policies.

“As the trade war continues between China and the United States, Steven Mnuchin said talks with Beijing had “broken down” and suggested it was now up to China to come to the table with concessions

China‘s Ministry of Commerce issued a severely worded statement after the announcement of  Trump’s plan to hit $200 billion worth of Chinese goods with new tariffs. The statement accused the U.S. of “slander” and said Washington is “fully responsible“ for an escalating trade war. It also agreed with Mnuchin’s assessment that trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are not moving in a positive direction.

According to the Chinese ministry:

“From February to June this year alone, China engaged in four rounds of high-level economic talks with the U.S., and has announced the China-U.S. Joint Statement with important consensus reached on strengthening trade and economic cooperation and avoiding a trade war.”

“But due to domestic politics, the U.S. has gone back on its words, brazenly abandoned the bilateral consensus, and insisted on fighting a trade war with China.”

The current trade war began when the U.S. imposed a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods and at the same time accused Beijing of requiring U.S. companies to give them valuable technology while at the same time stealing U.S. intellectual property.

“Underlying problems in the American economy and society are purely caused by domestic, structural reasons in the U.S.,” the government said. “The accusations of unfair trade practices are groundless.”

China also warned that U.S. trade actions against Beijing and other countries in North America and the European Union risk will cause more retaliations and are severely endangering the health of the global economy.

In a shot at President Donald Trump the Chinese statement ended with the following assertion:

“When the U.S. willfully exits from groups based on its own interests under the pretext of ‘American First,’ it becomes an enemy to all.”

China’s statement makes clear that they believe that Donald Trump is playing “domestic politics” and the U.S. economic woes are caused by “domestic concerns” and is not their fault. Even though Mnuchin said that it is up to China to make concessions to end the trade war, this is not likely to happen.

China is of course absolutely right that Donald Trump’s trade policies are designed to help him politically and to appeal to his “base” of voters who want to put “America First.” These Trump supporters are angry and resentful because they believe other countries are treating the U.S. unfairly, and Donald Trump is tapping into these emotions to help his political standing while at the same time destroying global trade agreements and possibly even the global economy. 


I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.

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