To a very large extent, the American people have opened Pandora’s Box in electing Donald Trump to power. He, more than most, is a politician who will tell an audience what they want to hear with little or no conviction on his part – the Mexican wall is probably the clearest example of this. In terms of his economic stance, time will tell, but appointments of very rich and influential figures to his so-called “cabinet of billionaires” perhaps starts to provide some clues.
Anybody with a spreadsheet can quickly determine that China manipulates the value of the Yuan against the Dollar to maintain a financial advantage for its products in US and global markets. Despite mutterings, the US has never formally called the Chinese out on this since were they to do so they would be obliged under US law to take economic actions against the Chinese for currency manipulation which could spark a trade war.
Donald Trump has already upset Chinese sensibilities by taking a call from the president of Taiwan, casting some doubt on the long-term support of the “one China” policy under his administration. His appointment of an outspoken China critic, Peter Navarro, as head of a new national trade body will further alarm the Chinese who have already permitted outspoken criticism of the new US president in their closely controlled press.
Peter Navarro has written books critical of China and was an advisor to Trump’s election campaign which was critical of trade deals with China and Mexico which it blamed for diminishing US manufacturing and costing US (blue collar) jobs. One of his books, Death by China, implored readers to "help defend America and protect your family - don't buy 'Made in China'." The comment is typical of the populist memes used by the Trump campaign during their successful bid for the White House. He has claimed that Chinese trade practices have cost the US economy 20 million jobs, but of course the US economy is currently running close to full employment…