The bigger story behind Trump’s trade tweets

Trump’s entire trade agenda is grinding to a halt and he needs a breakthrough on China to get it moving again, writes James Lucier from Capital Alpha, the Washington DC policy research firm. Bringing together intel from the DC sources and public announcements made from US officials and beyond, Lucier has done a great job at explaining why the a China trade deal is so essential to all of the moving parts that represent the broader US trade strategy. A China deal is the catalyst from everything else. This includes USCMA, and an important deal with Japan. Furthermore, the latest threats also ups the stakes for tariffs on European trade. As for the tweets, Lucier says that for those who think Trump is impulsive in everything he does: this is mostly true.  But he says that staffers who are willing to work with the boss’s impulses instead of stifling them can make Trump’s tactical tweeting into a strategic asset, which maybe the case in this situation. It seems very likely that negotiators communicated the deal-or-no-deal message privately to their Chinese counterparts, in advance of the President’s tweets so that they would not be caught completely off-guard by the President’s actions and would have a considered response available for it. If you’d like to read the full note, click below.