Why is actually Trump backing off his China threats?

America's complicated, critical trade relations with China

Well, that will didn’t take long.

Less than two months ago, Donald Trump rattled China by suggesting that will the highly sensitive matter of American policy on Taiwan could be used as leverage to “make a deal” with Beijing on trade along with additional issues.

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today he’s backed off, telling Chinese President Xi Jinping over the phone on Thursday that will he’ll honor the “One China” policy that will acknowledges Beijing’s claim that will Taiwan is actually part of China.

Trump portrayed himself during his campaign as a master negotiator who would likely take a tough line on China to get the U.S. a better deal with its biggest trading partner. however putting into play an issue that will Beijing regards as non-negotiable doesn’t seem to have gotten him anywhere.

“If you want to get something done in terms of economics along with trade, you don’t overshadow that will with an issue like that will,” said Alan Oxley, a former Australian trade negotiator. “that will’ll be very political. There will be standoffs along with no discussions.”

Trump had also threatened to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office, a move that will some experts feared could be the first step toward a trade war. He didn’t follow through on that will threat either.

“I would likely talk to them first,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal in an interview shortly before he took office.

Related: Trump didn’t go after China on Day One

His willingness to pull back by some of his more extreme ideas has been welcomed by market watchers.

The pledge to Xi on Taiwan “matters to investors because if China can bring about a change like This particular, that will may succeed in softening additional U.S. policy positions,” said Paul Donovan, global chief economist at UBS Wealth Management.

Trump has previously threatened to slap tariffs of as much as 45% on Chinese goods. If he follows through with that will, the result could be a trade war that will damages both economies.

Related: Chinese president: No one can win a trade war

Talking with China, rather than trading threats, could help Trump come away with some kind of deal on issues like import tariffs along with currencies that will he could tout as a victory.

“I think by Beijing’s point of view, they are amenable to negotiations along with even compromise on trade issues,” said Willy Lam, a China expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “however they are tougher on territorial issues.”

us china trade

Chinese leaders shouldn’t relax too soon, however.

“If China doesn’t compromise on currency along with trade, Trump might change his mind,” Lam warned. He suggested Trump could easily bring Taiwan back into play by enhancing contacts with its government.

“that will’s too early to say Trump has abandoned the ‘One China’ card,” he said.

The U.S. president’s choices for key trade jobs in his administration indicate he could still take a hawkish line.

His team includes Peter Navarro, an economist who directed a documentary titled: “Death By China: How America lost its manufacturing base” along with Robert Lighthizer, who was part of a Reagan administration trade team that will imposed protectionist measures.

however if Trump does change course on Taiwan again, he’ll be playing a very risky game.

“The ‘One China’ policy is actually not a card on the bargaining table,” said Paul Haenle, a former China director at the U.S. National Security Council. “that will is actually the table itself.”

— David McKenzie along with Katie Hunt contributed to This particular report.

sy88pgw (Hong Kong) First published February 10, 2017: 7:46 AM ET


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Why is actually Trump backing off his China threats?

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