Is President Trump winning on trade?
Two underappreciated trade wins last week suggest the answer is: Yes.
First, South Korea agreed to reduce longstanding nontariff trade barriers that have reduced US exports there. Though the details are still sketchy, it appears that the Koreans will buy more Ford and GM cars and trucks and other US-made products. This can only be good news for American workers. Seoul has also agreed to increase reimbursement rates to American drug and vaccine producers.
On the negative side, the administration extended tariffs on Korean trucks and imposed a quota on steel imports from Korea. These will raise prices on American consumers and businesses.
On balance, though, as The New York Times grudgingly conceded, the deal “represents the type of one-on-one agreement that Mr. Trump says makes the best sense for American companies and workers.”
Second, China capitulated in response to Trump’s jarring announcement of a record $50 billion of tariffs on Chinese products. China at first threatened to retaliate with barriers on American soybeans, wheat, blue jeans and bourbon. The US financial markets tumbled.