PRC‘s Trump Appeasement: Import Expo 2018

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 11/29/2017 04:42:00 PM
He likes military pomp, but does Trump also like "import expos"?
I almost forgot about this post: In the run-up to Trump's recent swing through Asia, Chinese apparatchiks devised something that they hoped would appease the orange-colored menace. Since he keeps complaining about China's massive trade surplus with the United States, why not host an "import expo" designed for foreigners to show their wares in the mainland? 
In response to questions from Bloomberg News, China’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan laid out a list of measures being undertaken that could help narrow the $327 billion gap, America’s largest with any nation. China will host its first-ever import fair in November next year, and will roll out tax, fiscal and administrative initiatives aimed at helping foreign firms sell more into what is becoming a big and sophisticated consumer market, Zhong wrote.

Slated for Shanghai in November 2018, the China International Import Expo (CIIE) reflects China’s “sincere wish to open its market to the world and its sense of responsibility as a big country to push for an open world economy,” he said. The “In the coming five years, (China) is expected to import over $10 trillion of goods and services,” Zhong wrote.

The import fair “with its potential to increase exports for countries around the world and enable the trade and economic cooperation between China and the rest of the world, will offer broad prospects for development.” In the past half decade, China’s imports from the rest of the world have totaled about $8.9 trillion worth of goods and services, according to IMF data.
This expo is designed to appease other PRC critics as well. Lest we forget, they are legion aside from the Americans:
U.S. and European trade officials have complained for years that despite China’s promises to open up, tariffs, intellectual property theft, forced transfers of technology and other rules that target foreign companies make doing business there difficult. The access afforded Chinese companies into their own markets provides a further rub.

The deficit “has to come down,” Trump said Monday. “And that has to do really with free trade, fair trade, or reciprocal trade. And frankly I like reciprocal the best of the group.” Still, the countries remain at odds over the causes and impact of the trade imbalance. China blames a “surplus transfer,” which Zhong says is the result of how global trade is organized. China frequently acts as the final link in a manufacturing chain where parts are made in multiple countries before being finally assembled -- and exported -- from there.
Is this trade expo ploy working? Earlier today, the US Commerce Department hit the PRC with a trade investigation concerning aluminum not originating from industry complaints. This is an infrequent occurrence:
The Trump administration, invoking powers the U.S. hasn’t used in more than a quarter century, began a probe into Chinese aluminum imports that could lead to tariffs. The Commerce Department is taking the unusual step of initiating the case itself, rather than going through the regular route of starting an investigation based on petitions filed by U.S. companies. Shares in Alcoa Corp. and Century Aluminum Co. jumped on Tuesday.

The investigation covers imports in common alloy sheet, which totaled more than $600 million last year, and was initiated using authority granted by the Tariff Act of 1930, the Commerce Department said Tuesday in a statement. China responded Wednesday by saying the move was “rare in the history of international trade.”
Go figure. If trade relations worsen further, I'd doubt whether the Chinese would be as enthusiastic about this bit of trade appeasement After all, it's still scheduled to be held in November 2018--a long, long time from now in the ever-changing global political economy.