Caroline Baum: Deal or no deal, the bilateral trade deficit with China is a phony issue

The U.S. trade war with China, with each country threatening the other with tens of billions of dollars in tariffs, “is on hold,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on the May 20 edition of “Fox News Sunday.”

Thank goodness for that. Trade wars a zero-sum game: everyone loses.

A framework agreement — in fact, a “very good framework agreement” — is in place, Mnuchin added. “It’s about structural changes. It’s about lowering tariffs. China has committed to lower tariffs on many things and made structural changes to protect our technology.”

What it’s not about is a commitment on China’s part to buy an additional $200 billion of U.S.

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