Canceling South Korean Trade Deal Would Be a Mistake

South Korean president Moon Jae-in attends a military ceremony in Quantico, Virginia, June 28
South Korean president Moon Jae-in attends a military ceremony in Quantico, Virginia, June 28 (USMC/Rachel Ghadiali)

Various American media report this weekend that President Donald Trump is thinking of canceling a trade agreement with South Korea.

This may be bluster: an attempt to force the South Koreans to make concessions. It’s the way Trump “negotiates”.

But if he makes good on this threat, it would be another self-inflicted wound for American commerce and a setback for America’s strategy in East Asia. Read more

Mixed Success for Trump at the G20 on Syria and Trade

German chancellor Angela Merkel gestures at American president Donald Trump during the G20 summit in Hamburg, July 8
German chancellor Angela Merkel gestures at American president Donald Trump during the G20 summit in Hamburg, July 8 (Bundesregierung)

The G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany has been a mixed success for American president Donald Trump.

On Syria:

  • On the one hand, Trump negotiated a ceasefire for southwestern Syria with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. American-backed rebels have been fighting the Russian-backed regime of Bashar Assad there.
  • On the other hand, he didn’t elicit Russia’s support for the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, which is Trump’s priority.

On trade:

  • On the one hand, G20 leaders conditioned open markets on “reciprocal and mutually advantageous trade” in their summit declaration and recognized the role of “legitimate trade defense instruments” — a political victory for Trump.
  • On the other hand, a threat from European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to retaliate with EU trade sanctions appears to have persuaded Trump not to raise tariffs on steel. Read more

Europe, Japan Send “Strong Signal” with Trade Deal

Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe, European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker pose for photos in Brussels, March 21, 2017
Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe, European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker pose for photos in Brussels, March 21, 2017 (European Commission)

European and Japanese leaders have announced a landmark trade agreement on the eve of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, where America’s president, Donald Trump, is expected to press his case for protectionism.

The treaty has yet to be finalized. A summit in Brussels was hastily arranged to “send a strong signal,” as the EU’s trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, put it earlier this week.

“We believe we should not build walls or raise protectionism,” she said. Read more

In Era of Trump, Europeans Become Free Traders

French president Emmanuel Macron is greeted by German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, May 15
French president Emmanuel Macron is greeted by German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, May 15 (Bundesregierung)

European leaders are preparing for a showdown on trade when they meet Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg next month.

“Whoever believes that the world’s problems can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is mistaken,” Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, told her parliament on Thursday.

French president Emmanuel Macron chimed in: “If free trade is questioned by a member state then we need to address this.” Read more

Can Canada Resist Trump’s Offensive on NAFTA?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada answers questions from reporters in Ottawa, October 20, 2015
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada answers questions from reporters in Ottawa, October 20, 2015 (Flickr/Justin Trudeau)

NAFTA stands for the North American Free Trade Act, but President Donald Trump does not.

After campaigning on a promise to repeal the act, then adapting his position to that of merely supporting the act’s renegotiation, Trump recently announced that he would no longer tolerate the status quo arrangement for American imports of dairy and forestry products originating from Canada. Read more

Trump Is Not the First American Leader to Criticize German Exports

Leaders of the G7 meet in Taormina, Italy, May 26
Leaders of the G7 meet in Taormina, Italy, May 26 (Bundesregierung)

American president Donald Trump has reportedly chided the Germans for selling more goods and services to his country than they buy from it, calling them “very, very bad”.

“Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. Terrible. We’ll stop it,” Trump was quoted as saying in Der Spiegel, which cited EU diplomats. (No matter that German carmakers are responsible for tens of thousands of jobs in the United States.) Read more

China, Europe Seek Closer Ties in Era of Trump

Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, the presidents of the European Council and European Commission, pose for photos with Li Keqiang, the prime minister of China, in Beijing, July 12, 2016
Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, the presidents of the European Council and European Commission, pose for photos with Li Keqiang, the prime minister of China, in Beijing, July 12, 2016 (European Commission/Enzo Zucchi)

China and the European Union are stepping up their cooperation in the era of Donald Trump.

Reuters reports that the two are keen on a summit in the next few months in order to promote free trade and international cooperation.

For the Chinese, it’s about sending a sending a message to Washington that it has friends in Europe.

The Europeans seek Chinese support for international institutions like the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, which Trump has chided. Read more