Chinese president under pressure over trade war with US


Chinese president under pressure over trade war with US

Peter Symonds

4 August 2018

Days after completing a trip to Africa and the Middle East, Chinese President Xi Jinping convened a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 25-member Politburo on Tuesday to determine policy on a range of economic issues. Xi held the meeting amid the mounting threat of a US-China trade war and signs he is coming under pressure from critics and factional opponents within China.

The statement released after the Politburo referred to “new problems and new changes” facing the Chinese economy, including “obvious changes in the external environment”—that is, US trade measures and threats against China in particular.

The following day, the Trump administration confirmed it was actively considering raising proposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. Beijing responded on Friday by threatening another $60 billion in tariffs on US products.

The Politburo meeting followed an executive meeting on July 23 of the State Council, often referred to as China’s cabinet, that oversees economic matters. In May, China reported its first current account deficit in years, and the latest purchasing managers’ index fell to a five-month low of 51.2 in July (above 50 indicates growth). In response to these signs of a slowing economy, the Politburo indicated that measures would be taken to boost infrastructure spending and encourage corporate research and development.

The Trump administration’s trade war measures are not simply aimed at forcing Beijing to cave in to Washington’s economic demands, but are more broadly aimed at ensuring US dominance in Asia and internationally by undermining the CCP regime. Given this agenda, the prognostications on…

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