The World In A Week – Making your mind up
Trump has asked the US trade department to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China, which have an estimated value of $300 billion. This final myriad of goods will place pressure firmly on the US consumer, a timely reminder that the importer pays the tariff in the shape of higher prices.
The consultation period for the next set of tariffs takes us neatly to late June, coinciding with the G20 meeting in Japan, where we would expect a meeting between President Trump and President Xi.
Trump is confident that a deal will be struck when the time is right. However, is that when the time is right for the country or for him? The 2020 election must be on his mind and opinion polls suggest that playing tough with China seems to be going down well with voters. A dangerous balancing act between hubris and Presidential position; doing what is best for Donald or doing what is best for the US, might not necessarily be wholly compatible.
In the UK we have the announcement that we all expected: Theresa May will be stepping down as Prime Minister. Bored with Brexit and seemingly lacking a sense of purpose, the Conservative party is arguably on the floor, forcing May to offer her resignation. A poor showing at the recent local elections and the threat of a similar defeat in next week’s European Parliament elections has opened the door to ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
Ironically, according to a YouGov survey in March, Boris Johnson was the most popular Conservative politician, as well as the most disliked. That perfectly sums up where we are with UK politics and why the people behind Johnson’s bid do not want a lengthy campaign. If only it were that simple; it would seem to be time for politicians across both sides of the Atlantic to start making their minds up.