US President Donald Trump's claims of winning trade war are 'wishful thinking', China Daily says

A commentary in the China Daily described US President Donald Trump’s belief that he is winning the trade war as "wishful thinking".
A commentary in the China Daily described US President Donald Trump’s belief that he is winning the trade war as "wishful thinking". PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - Chinese state media kept up their criticism of US President Donald Trump’s trade policies, with a newspaper on Tuesday (Aug 7) describing as “wishful thinking” Trump’s belief that a fall in Chinese stocks was a sign of his winning the trade war.

As the world’s two biggest economies remained locked in a heated tariff dispute, Beijing and Washington have kept up a blistering rhetoric with threats and counter-threats of more punitive trade measures.

The editorial in the official China Daily underscored an increasingly aggressive stance adopted by Chinese state media against Trump, a shift from their previous approach of tempering any direct criticism against the US president.

On Monday, the overseas edition of the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper singled out Trump, saying he was starring in his own “street fighter-style deceitful drama of extortion and intimidation”.

China proposed retaliatory tariffs on US$60 billion (S$82 billion) worth of US goods ranging from liquefied natural gas (LNG) to some aircraft on Friday, following a proposal by the administration of US President Donald Trump for a higher 25 per cent tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

The China Daily referred to a Saturday Tweet by Trump which said “Tariffs are working far better than anyone anticipated. China market has dropped 27 percent in last four months.”

China’s stock market was performing poorly before the US administration imposed tariffs, said the English-language newspaper, asserting that the downturn was partly due to Beijing’s attempts to cut corporate debt.

The paper said Trump’s claim that “tariffs are working big time” was undermined by data showing the US trade deficit climbed US$3 billion to US$46.3 billion in June, the first increase in four months.

The China Daily is often used by the government to communicate its message to an international audience. 


In a separate commentary, in the People’s Daily overseas edition, a researcher at the Commerce Ministry reiterated this stance, saying China was strong and resilient enough to weather the trade dispute.

“We absolutely have reason to believe that during this complex trade friction, and relying on the domestic market, China can continue to enhance its leading position in the global economic and industrial system,” researcher Mei Xinyu wrote.

Trump has repeatedly criticised China for its trade deficit with the US, which he feels is a sign of unfair trade practices.

Despite the tariffs, China's exports are expected to have grown in July, according to a Reuters poll of economists.