Clear strategy in Trump's 'erratic' style

US President Donald Trump's strategy is based very much on his experience as a seasoned businessman and deal maker.
US President Donald Trump's strategy is based very much on his experience as a seasoned businessman and deal maker.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

The ongoing trade war between the United States and China has all the hallmarks of US President Donald Trump's presidential term thus far - initial agreements on trade terms, praise for his counterpart for their cooperation and then reneging on what was agreed earlier and going back to square one.

A parallel situation is developing between the US and North Korea, although that is about the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula through a two-pronged approach involving sanctions and bilateral meetings.

Understandably, many underlying factors are at play between the world's two largest economies.

The devil is in the details, and that will require patience as well as resolute officials from both sides to come to a trade agreement that satisfies everyone, particularly the very demanding Mr Trump.

Nonetheless, observers to this trade war cannot help but admit that there is an order in the seemingly chaotic and erratic nature of Mr Trump's train of thoughts.

That is, to pressurise China into buying more American goods to close the large gap on the trade deficits between US and China while trying to stunt China's relentless economic growth and technological progress through the imposition of tariffs on a wide spectrum of goods, including technological products in the latest development.

Mr Trump's strategy is based very much on his experience as a seasoned businessman and deal maker and, with his bid for a second term in office very much in mind, he must be seen to have gained an upper hand in this trade war against a rising China to convince his voters he deserves another four years in office.

Gabriel Cheng Kian Tiong