Source: Sputnik Published: 2018-12-04
On Saturday, during the G20 summit, US President Donald Trump agreed to halt plans of raising tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products from 10 percent to 25 percent starting from January 1, 2019, in order to pave the way for trade talks with Beijing.
However, Trump also warned that if the trade talks do not succeed within the next 90 days, the tariffs will be raised to 25 percent as planned. Meanwhile, the Xinhua news agency also claimed that the two countries agreed to expedite talks toward eliminating all additional tariffs, citing the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
"It's not necessarily a truce; it's a situation where the two sides are going to negotiate," Ross told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.
"I think the US made some serious miscalculations because, bluntly, it [the US] is ill-informed about China… nobody on the American side had expertise on China at all."
According to Ross, the Trump administration did not expect China to "hit back rather hard."
"China has always been clear that it doesn't want a trade war with the US. It's generally a lose-lose. It's better to get into a situation where the two [China and the US] negotiate about the situation," Ross added.
Trade relations between US and China took a plunge in June when Trump announced that he was slapping China with 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of imported Chinese goods, and Beijing responded in kind. In September, Washington announced 10 percent import duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
On Monday, Trump tweeted, "Farmers will be a a very BIG and FAST beneficiary of our deal with China. They intend to start purchasing agricultural product immediately. We make the finest and cleanest product in the World, and that is what China wants. Farmers, I LOVE YOU!" referring to China's promise to purchase a substantial amount of US agricultural, industrial and energy products.
"They're [farmers] not going to be beneficiaries," Ross told Radio Sputnik.
"They're merely going to be saved from a big mess. Because the soybean prices in the US have fallen extremely severely because of the tariffs which Trump imposed, which China responded to. Farmers have taken a big negative hit due to Trump's tariff policies, and now he's trying to get them something out of this mess," Ross added.
US soybean exports to China have decreased by 98 percent this year, according to Yahoo Finance, as China has started importing the crop from Brazil amid the trade war. Soybeans were the US' top agricultural export to China last year.
"Although China wants to be self-sufficient, it doesn't believe that it can expand its soybean production to meet its needs, and therefore its the world's largest importer of soybeans," Ross noted.
"It was a very win-win relationship, and Trump messed it up," Ross told Radio Sputnik, referring to the fact that China was purchasing large amounts of soybeans from the US before the trade war began.
"The American farmers were doing very well, and he [Trump] created a big problem for them. My guess is he wants to get out of this mess because the midterm elections went very badly for him," he said.
John Ross is a senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.