China is an economic powerhouse, comprising 12% of global trade. It has 400 million middle-class consumers. Bilateral commerce between the United States and China reached $600 billion before the trade war. China, for example, imported $254 million in liquefied natural gas, or LNG, from the United States in January 2018. Now, though, China has stopped importing the frozen fuel from this country.
“There’s never a bad time to embrace good policy, and tariff relief would provide some welcome breathing room for American businesses and consumers,” says U.S. Chamber of Commerce Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant. “Liquidity has emerged as one of the top challenges for businesses of all sizes, and tariff relief.”
Donald Trump’s language would suggest he is headed in the other direction — at least as far as China is concerned. The president has extended his “deep state” theories to China, referring to COVID-19 as the “China Virus” and saying that it originated in a lab in Wuhan — something dismissed by every notable scientist. Even Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed those sentiments, saying there is “enormous evidence” of this, although he later backed down.
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Trump is an embattled president, bearing distinct scars from impeachment. He is thus seeking to find a scapegoat for the nation’s economic troubles and its mounting death toll from the coronavirus. China, unfortunately, has become his target — a move that threatens the foundation upon which the two nations sit.
For its part, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is trying to shift the blame onto Washington: “Is the US government hiding something?” it asks in a tweet. “Why they opt to blame others? American people and the international community need an answer from the US government.”