GZERO Media logo

US-China: What If There’s No Deal?

US-China: What If There’s No Deal?

As the trade war between the world's two largest economies continues, stock markets around the world have gone queasy, and both sides are hunkering down for a longer fight. Some people still hope that a compromise will emerge at a possible Trump-Xi meeting during the G20 summit in Osaka in June.

But the optimists shouldn't get their hopes up.


Trump and his negotiators are demanding a fundamental change to the way China grows its economy. Among other things, they want the Chinese government to:

  • provide better access for US firms to the Chinese marketplace
  • stop providing Chinese companies with big subsidies that give them a competitive edge against foreigners
  • stop stealing foreign intellectual property
  • end the practice of forcing US companies to share new technologies as the price of entry into China
  • write these changes into Chinese law
  • and create a verification system that gives the US government confidence that China is actually doing all these things

In other words, Trump wants Xi to formally renounce the tools that China's leaders have used to transform what was once one of the poorest economies into what is now the world's second largest. What's more, Trump wants Beijing to make all these changes with a knife at its throat.

Compromise won't come easy on either side. Both Xi and Trump attach outsized importance to the need to save face. Both are under intense domestic political pressure to prove that the gains they hope to make are worth the pain they're forcing their people to endure.

Many of us assume that US and China will eventually get to yes. But what if it takes much longer than anyone thinks?

If they can't make sustainable progress toward a deal by their meeting next month, this conflict will drag on – potentially until after the 2020 US presidential election. Why make tough concessions to a man who might not be president much longer?

The 2020 election is still 18 months from now – if the trade war persists until then, how much collateral damage will China, the US, and the world economy suffer in that interim?

A decade ago, Bank of America established the Global Ambassadors Program with Vital Voices, and the results are phenomenal. We've provided 8,000 hours of training and mentoring, engaging 400 women from 85 countries and helping women around the world build their businesses.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made a lot of foreign governments really mad. Let's call the roll.

Europe. The EU is angry that Turkey is drilling for oil in the eastern Mediterranean, and NATO is furious that member Turkey has defied its protests to purchase S-400 missiles from Russia. Erdogan has repeatedly rejected pushback from EU leaders by calling them fascists and Islamophobes.

Just this week, Erdogan refused to express sympathy with France following the beheading of a French schoolteacher by an Islamist extremist, attacked Macron's own response to the murder, suggested the French president needed "some sort of mental treatment," and countered Macron's vow to crack down on Islamist radicals with calls for a boycott of French products.

More Show less

Less than a week before the US election, President Donald Trump is repeatedly questioning the legitimacy of the vote (if he doesn't win) over largely unsubstantiated claims of potential fraud in universal mail-in voting. But with absentee ballots coming in all-time highs in all states due to the coronavirus pandemic, some Americans worry that the system itself may not be able to handle such an influx of ballots, including those already cast by a record number of early voters. Whether or not you agree, Gallup data show that US citizens are now less confident that the election will be conducted accurately — and more concerned about election irregularities and voter suppression — than they were four years ago. We take a look at how Americans' views on these electoral integrity issues have changed from 2016 to 2020.

Belarus on strike: In recent days, the Belarusian streets have turned up the heat on strongman President Alexander Lukashenko, as thousands of state factory workers and students in Belarus heeded a call from opposition leader Svyatlana Tikhanouskaya to join a general strike. Protests have roiled the country since August, when Lukashenko, in power since 1994, won a presidential election widely regarded as rigged. Last Sunday, 100,000 people turned up in Minsk, the capital. Tikhanouskaya — who ran against Lukashenko in that election and is currently exiled in neighboring Lithuania — had demanded the president resign by October 26. When he didn't, the walkout began. In one of the most iconic moments of protest so far, a striking worker at a refrigerator factory climbed the plant's tower to record a dramatic call for Lukashenko to step down. Belarus has been hit with sanctions from the US and EU, both of which are calling on him to hold new elections, but so far he has shown no signs of backing down, deploying his riot police with the usual fury. Something's got to give, soon.

More Show less

Who does Vladimir Putin want to win the US election? Given the Kremlin's well-documented efforts to sway the 2016 vote in Donald Trump's favor, it's certainly a fair question. And while there's no solid evidence that Russian interference had any decisive effect on the outcome four years ago, the Trump administration itself says the Kremlin — and others — are now trying to mess with the election again.

So let's put you in Vladimir Putin's size 9 shoes as you weigh up Donald Trump vs Joe Biden while refreshing your own personal PyatTridsatVosem (FiveThirtyEight) up there in the Kremlin.

More Show less
UNGA banner

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal