Almost everything Trump says about trade with China is wrong

The idea that China is totally dominating the United States is equally absurd. Yes, China has experienced impressive gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the last decade or so, but (a) that’s what developing countries do (especially former centrally planned ones with more than a billion people); and (b) America remains much, much wealthier, greener, more egalitarian, and more productive. It’s not even close—no, really.

Moreover, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last six months, you’d know that China’s incessant quest for GDP growth through the kind of economic interventionism that Trump just loves has led to some serious economic distortions (e.g., a frightening property market, rampant industrial overcapacity, a banking sector riddled with non-performing loans, and serious capital flight), not to mention crazy stock market turmoil.

You’d also know that Chinese “currency manipulation” is not a serious problem for the United States (probably never was), and that even the most aggressive U.S. currency hawks now acknowledge that China is not hurting the United States by keeping the yuan artificially low. Indeed, China’s “cunning” economic planners are currently struggling to keep their currency from falling, not—as Trump seems to think—from rising. So if Beijing relented to Trump’s fantastical threats and let the market dictate its currency, the result would be a weaker yuan, not a stronger one, as Trump confidently claimed last Thursday night.