The Trump administration is under pressure to show results with its trade policy. To date, that policy has largely consisted of attacking trade partners while issuing nebulous demands for “better” trade deals. So far, the administration has been unable to deliver a single such improved outcome.
You can tell the pressure has been mounting by the increased Republican calls for the President to “get a win” on trade. Or by trips such as that of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to North Dakota or Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to New York to reassure anxious farmers who are suffering from tariff retaliation. Concerned that discontent with the damage to the farm sector could hurt Republicans in the midterms, the President’s team is promising that better times are ahead in trade.
Yet a year and a half into this presidency, with increasing levels of protection and retaliation afflicting the American economy, the promises of impending success seem ever less plausible. This is particularly true when there are no negotiations taking place.
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