President Donald Trump has an interesting, if not complex, relationship with China. During his campaign trail, he spoke aggressively against China and his perceived trade abuses of the Asian economic giant.
The President even hinted that he might throw support to Taiwan in its conflict with Beijing. His secretary of state also suggested that the U.S. military would block China’s access to its disputed islands in the Pacific.
Trump, however, had an amiable time hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping in his Mar-a-Lago resort early on at the start of his presidency this year. Then, of course, there’s his recent trip to Beijing where he hit it off with Xi, and even raved about the royal and red carpet treatment he received from China.
On Tuesday morning, an interesting “prediction”’ was forwarded by Ely Ratner of the Council on Foreign Relations saying that Trump’s “love affair” with Beijing would be short-lived. He gave three reasons:
1.Trump is finally getting his national security team in place, the group is mainly composed of “China hawks.”
2.There’s a forecast that said the team will produce two official strategy documents, which will likely establish China as “first and foremost a strategic competitor.”
3.Good old function of politics
By Tuesday afternoon, the Trump administration appeared to have validated Ratner’s theory. The Commerce Department declared that it will launch a pair of investigations into alleged Chinese trade violations.
More particularly, the administration will probe whether China is exporting aluminum to the U.S. at “artificially low prices”, causing in the process unfair injury to U.S. firms. The probes could result in steep duties on more than $600-million-worth of aluminum sheet imports by early next year.
The investigations are, of course, initiated by the Commerce Department. The U.S. government has not initiated a similar trade measure since the George H.W. Bush cracked down on Canadian softwood lumber imports in 1991.
Trump has always been consistent in his vows to enforce trade laws, and to always protect the country’s and Americans’ interests above everything else- the very principle for which his #Make America Great Again winning campaign mantra is anchored on.