Apparently someone finally got around to telling Donald Trump that $1 billion is chump change compared to the size of our trade deficit with China:

The Trump administration is asking Beijing for a plan to cut the annual U.S. trade deficit with China by $100 billion, according to people familiar with the matter….According to the people, Trump administration officials made the request to Liu He, the main architect of China’s economic policy, last week when he was in Washington.

I dunno. Maybe Trump can talk China into buying a billion tons of American coal each year. Alternatively, he could talk to an economist, who would tell him that the most effective answer is to weaken the dollar. That’s easier said than done, though, and doesn’t have the same appeal as being able to crow about beating China at its own game. In the end, I assume this whole affair will amount to nothing, although Trump might be able to persuade China to make a few face-saving concessions in return for real-life concessions from the US. That’s how Trump’s dealmaking usually seems to go.

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