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Trump’s big push pays off

- Mag­gie Pagano World Politics · Politics · Donald Trump · China · Buenos Aires · G20 · Xi Jinping · United States of America · Santa Claus · Democratic Party (United States) · Beijing · France · Spain · United Kingdom · G-20 Summit · GlaxoSmithKline

SAy what you like about Pres­i­dent Trump, the Don­ald is pre­dictable. In his book, The Art Of The Deal, pub­lished three decades ago, he wrote: ‘My style of deal-mak­ing is quite sim­ple and straight­for­ward. I aim very high, and then I just keep push­ing and push­ing and push­ing to get what I’m af­ter.’

At first glance, Trump’s style of push­ing and push­ing at China with threats of sky-high tar­iffs on trade looks as though it has paid off.

He got his way af­ter a lock-down din­ner in Buenos Aires at the G20 sum­mit with his Chi­nese coun­ter­part, Xi Jin­ping, when they fi­nally agreed a 90-day truce in their trade war to al­low more time for jaw-jaw.

The truce was enough of a vic­tory to send US and Euro­pean fi­nan­cial mar­kets into spasms of relief, with some an­a­lysts pre­dict­ing a pre-Christ­mas rally through De­cem­ber.

Trump as Santa is not what most peo­ple ex­pect of the pres­i­dent. yet he has agreed to de­fer his plan to raise the tar­iff on $200bn of Chi­nese im­ports from 10pc to 25pc, for 90 days so that talks can con­tinue.

In ex­change, Xi promised to buy a ‘very sub­stan­tial’ amount of US goods, in­clud­ing farm, en­ergy and in­dus­trial prod­ucts which will help re­duce the big trade gap be­tween the two coun­tries. This is just what Trump wanted, as boost­ing trade for US farmers and man­u­fac­tur­ers was a piv­otal part to his elec­toral pitch.

There’s another plus. Crack­ing down on China eco­nom­i­cally is per­haps Trump’s only main pol­icy for which there is sup­port from the Democrats.

What’s not clear is whether his claim that Bei­jing will also ‘re­duce and re­move’ tar­iffs be­low the 40pc level that it charges on the im­ports of US cars is cor­rect.

For now, the truce gives both sides some claim to vic­tory. But the truth is this agree­ment is a de- es­ca­la­tion of the trade war rather than any cease­fire. There’s a much big­ger battle at stake in Trump’s war on China as the pres­i­dent has grander am­bi­tions than cut­ting the trade deficit. He wants to throt­tle China’s po­si­tion as a ri­val su­per­power by shat­ter­ing its in­dus­trial base and tear­ing up its re­cent ‘Made in China 2025’ pro­gramme. He has made no bones about ac­cus­ing China of steal­ing US in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty, and wants to put a stop to this al­leged theft. He also wants to end China’s dream of dom­i­nat­ing in­dus­tries such as car mak­ing. China’s lat­est am­bi­tion is to be the world’s biggest elec­tric car-maker.

China is al­ready feel­ing the pain of a weaker econ­omy. The Shang­hai Com­pos­ite In­dex has fallen al­most a third since the start of the year. Xi, who faces crit­i­cism for mis­cal­cu­lat­ing Trump’s threats, is said to be will­ing do any­thing to avoid US tar­iffs as the coun­try’s growth stalls.

And Trump? He will keep push­ing.

Walm­s­ley’s bold move

EMMA Walm­s­ley also has the mak­ings of a for­mi­da­ble deal- maker. By swap­ping a night-time drinks com­pany for one of the most cut­ting- edge can­cer drugs on the mar­ket, she’s cat­a­pulted GSK to the fore­front of can­cer ge­netic re­search.

The GSK chief sold Hor­licks for £3bn and is pay­ing £4bn to buy the US can­cer com­pany Te­saro, all on the same day. Some swap. Te­saro makes Ze­jula, an ap­proved drug for treat­ing ovar­ian can­cer. Ze­jula be­longs to a class of drugs called PARP in­hibitors, which work by block­ing en­zymes in­volved in re­pair­ing dam­aged DNA, thus help­ing to kill can­cer cells.

It’s a bold move and pre­cisely the longterm am­bi­tion that we hope for from com­pa­nies like GSK.

If it turns out that Ze­jula can also be used to treat breast, lung and prostate can­cers as GSK be­lieves, then this could prove to be a mas­ter- stroke for Walm­s­ley. It also shows she does what she says, hav­ing promised to put GSK back on the drugs af­ter years of lag­ging be­hind ri­vals in find­ing new block­busters.

With big pharma like GSK be­hind it, Ze­jula could save more lives too.

Cour­gette wars

WAITROSE is blam­ing the ri­ot­ing in France by the ‘gilets jaunes’ (yel­low vests), who are protest­ing over fuel price rises, for a short­age of cour­gettes.

Trucks car­ry­ing cour­gettes from Spain can’t get to the UK be­cause of the protests.

We can cope with­out cour­gettes for a few days but has Pres­i­dent Macron met his Water­loo?

He is get­ting close to a state of emer­gency and the street-fight­ing is spread­ing. But at least we won’t be hear­ing from him about French fish­er­men in­vad­ing the UK’s waters for a while.

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