Of course no one actually wins a trade war – consumers only lose and we are supposed to be running the whole system in the interests of consumers. But even then, within the mercantilist terms of who is winning by the misshapen counting methods of trade protectionists, it seems to be China winning, not Trump’s America. So at least says S&P:
But let’s put that political question aside and think about what is happening in the declared terms of that trade war. In the casting of that argument a decline in China’s trade surplus with the US would be the US winning. That’s not how trade works – the aim and point being to gain access to those lovely things made by foreigners – but that’s how the logic is being deployed.
That looks like the US is winning. Except that’s a battle, concerning the war: On a net export basis therefore the U.S. “won” the trade war in April by $1.18 billion on a net export basis. Yet, taking the period since July when section 301 duties were first applied China’s exports are up $8.95 billion while its imports are down by $24.8 billion, i.e. a $33.7 billion gain in China’s net exports. It’s not, to put it mildly, obvious that the losses to American consumers are worth this.
To use the wrong method of counting victory or not is one thing, but to be losing even by preferred method is a disaster, no?