At least the shirts everybody was wearing looked great.
President Obama is leaving China, having reached landmark deals with his counterpart, Xi Jinping, to cut greenhouse gases and lower tariffs on IT products. So it was a good week! Everybody got to wear a local shirt, showing that even the most powerful people on Earth can be brought low and awkward by simple fashion.
That agreement over greenhouse gases is nothing to scoff at, even if half of political America already hates it. But, as per usual, there was plenty of daylight between the United States and its largest trading partner when it came to issues such as press freedom and the democratic protests in Hong Kong. And while it's great the trade agreement on IT products will make MacBooks cheaper, a lot of other trade issues went undiscussed.
As written by Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, for Real Clear Markets:
China's government refers to its interactions with Washington as a "Great Powers Relationship." But it won't be a stable one if we don't address this imbalance, which manifested as a $318 billion trade deficit in favor of China in 2013. This September's $35 billion deficit was the largest monthly sum ever. Those deficits are trending upward. It will only grow harder to persuade an American public anxious about a recovery that has seen unemployment fall but wages stagnate that this path of polite appeasement is the right one.
We’re happy the president had a fruitful visit and scored a few great photo ops along the way, but the fundamentals inequalities of our lopsided economic relationship with China still haven’t been addressed. This White House’s record regarding China remains a disappointment.