“No China Trade Deal Until 2020, Maybe 2021…Maybe Never”
Mike Gleason: Trade tensions with China have been one of the big stories in the financial press for the past year and a half. We’ve seen U.S. equity markets gyrate up and down. One day traders are euphoric on rumors that a deal with China will soon be reached. The next day, they’re depressed over news of escalating tariffs and some other negative developments. Most recently, we saw a big rally in the stock market on the announcement that some tariffs will be delayed by a few months, although with the further inversion of the yield curve here today, the day we’re talking, Wednesday, the stock market is giving pretty much all of that back. But that aside, I’d like to start by getting your assessment of the prospects for a trade deal here, Gordon. Do you think we’re going to see these tensions resolved in the next few months?
Gordon Chang: Certainly not. I don’t see a comprehensive trade deal until 2020, maybe 2021, maybe never. Problem is Xi Jinping, the Chinese ruler, doesn’t necessarily want a deal. He owns this trade war, quote-unquote, and if he makes significant compromises, he’s going to accept the political responsibility for that. You’ve got to remember that accumulating great power is of course an advantage, but it means he also accumulated great accountability. He can’t blame other people. So I think that the Chinese political system right now is pretty much frozen, and that means we’re not going to see a comprehensive deal. We’re probably not even going to see an interim arrangement, either.