Quick Takes: China Offers Trump an Opportunity to Save Face

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Trump has seemed intent on escalating a trade war with China. But their president might have just given him an opportunity to back off and save face.

In a major speech Monday night at the Boao Forum for Asia, newly minted Chinese president-for-life Xi Jinping vowed to open up China more to foreign companies in the near future. Xi specifically said that China would “significantly lower” tariffs on foreign automobiles this year, which has been a sticking point for President Trump. Xi also said that China was not seeking to run a trade surplus, touching on another Trump obsession…

Several analysts noted that China has made promises to open up its economy before, as recently as November, and that the proposed changes would take years to implement.

“President Xi’s remarks do not represent a dramatic departure from existing Chinese policy, but rather a reiteration of the same themes Xi has promoted throughout his tenure atop China’s policy making system,” Chaoping Zhu, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management, told CNN Money.

Trump seemed to take the bait.

* Speaking of China, this is an interesting development:

U.S. President Donald Trump may be open to forming an international coalition to grapple with Chinese trade issues, his top economic adviser said on Monday, adding that it remained unclear whether the proposed U.S. tariffs on China would eventually materialize.

Asked whether Trump would consider seeking the support of European nations, Japan and others, White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told CNBC: “The president is amenable to that. He’s not necessarily out soliciting support yet, but he is amenable.”

Hmmmm…sounds like some kind of transpacific partnership agreement, doesn’t it?

* Sen. Cory Booker looked into what pharmaceutical companies plan to do with their tax cuts.

* Here are a couple of items from the “elections matter” category:

* Finally, other than the raid on Michael Cohen’s offices, the other big news today was Mark Zuckerberg testifying before congress. All I’ve got to say about that is “ditto” on this take:

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.