In an amazingly pro-Trump editorial, the editors of The New York Times laud the president for putting a freeze on new tariffs to give the U. S. and China three months in which to arrive at an agreement:
Not long after claiming victory in the midterm elections in which his party lost at least 39 House seats, President Trump kept up his winning streak this past weekend, this time on the world stage.
At the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, he called a temporary truce with President Xi Jinping of China in the nearly yearlong trade dispute between the two countries. The United States will continue to impose a 10 percent tariff on up to $250 billion of Chinese goods but will hold fire on threats to boost that duty to 25 percent in January. China, which has countered with $110 billion in tariffs on American goods, will reportedly lower some tariffs on American-made autos and resume buying soybeans and other agricultural commodities that had been priced out of the market by the countervailing duties.
“It’s an incredible deal,” the president claimed, and yet it is not, in fact, even a deal. The two countries have given themselves 90 days to find a framework from which to construct a new trade agreement — something they haven’t been able to do over the past two years. Nor has China given an indication that it will make any big concessions in 2019.
I would remind readers of the story of the caliph, the grand vizier, and the donkey. It’s possible that President Trump will wrest concessions from China. It’s more likely that the Chinese authorities will announce reforms that remarkably never materialize and that President Trump will seize on even the tiniest motion in our direction and declare victory.