Outside Influencers: Chinese

Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
Liu He, Vice Premier, People’s Republic of China
Cui Tiankai, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China

Even as Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn was resigning over new U.S. tariffs, his Chinese counterpart Liu He, long a close collaborator of President Jinping, was visiting Washington in an attempt to ease the tensions between the two countries. Trump, believes he can manage the bilateral relationship through his personal rapport with Jinping, who just became a ruler with no set term, and has introduced $50 billion worth of new tariffs threatening another $100 billion on a raft of imported goods from China and other penalties for theft of trade secrets (valued at $300 billion). This is in addition to earlier protective tariffs on steel, aluminum, washing machines and solar panels. Trump has also introduced new restrictions on Chinese investment in the U.S. Experts worry that the U.S. moves could ignite a trade war which could lead to a recession, and sour Trump’s relations with Jinping, which is concerning since China is the number one buyer of U.S. Treasuries, and could sour China’s appetite for Boeing aircraft, as exploding wealth in the country is expected to yield $1 trillion in new aircraft purchases over the next decade. Also worthy of note: China’s 8.1 percent increase in defense spending this year. Transmitting Beijing’s line to Washington is Cui Tiankai, who assumed the post of ambassador in 2011 and is no stranger to the city, having pursued his postgraduate degree here. After tariffs were announced in April, Tiankai told CNBC: “We will see how much the U.S. measures will hurt our economy and we will fight back accordingly.”

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