As President Donald Trump prepares to sit down with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 on Saturday, Americans both hope and expect that a China trade deal is on the way. That's because they have a much more negative view of Trump tariffs than the self-proclaimed Tariff Man, new IBD/TIPP polling shows.
China Trade Deal Seen Likely
Expectations that the Trump-Xi summit will get China trade talks back on track got a boost when Trump tweeted on June 18 that the two men had a "very good" talk and agreed to an "extended meeting" at the G-20 in Osaka, Japan.
The IBD/TIPP Poll covers 900 responses from June 20-27, when Wall Street analysts grew cautiously optimistic about the summit outcome. That optimism, along with expectations of Fed rate cuts, helped boost the S&P 500 to a record high and the Dow Jones to a 2019 best.
Among those polled, 65% saw a China trade deal as likely or somewhat likely in the near future. Among investors, 69% see a trade deal as likely.
Rising expectations of a deal, after President Trump had abruptly escalated the trade conflict on May 10, gave a boost to Trump's approval rating on China trade issues. The new IBD/TIPP Poll saw Americans split 42%-42% over whether Trump's handling of China trade was good or poor. At the start of June, 45% gave Trump failing marks on China trade vs. 39% with a positive opinion.
Americans Oppose Trump's Plan B For China Trade War
Trump said recently that he's fine either way, whether the U.S. seals a China trade deal or settles for Plan B. That involves slapping tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports that have yet to face a tax. But the IBD/TIPP Poll indicates that Americans widely disagree.
Only 16% said the U.S. should escalate tariffs if there's no China trade deal in the next three months. Another 33% said the U.S. should remove China tariffs, even if they can't reach a near-term deal, while 44% said Trump should leave the tariffs in place.
While President Trump has said China bears the brunt of the trade war, Americans aren't so sure. Of those polled, 46% said the U.S. economy stands to lose more if a trade agreement isn't reached, while 44% see China as the bigger loser.
The new IBD/TIPP Poll found that 45% think tariffs on Chinese goods are hurting the U.S. economy, while 26% think they help. Although not exactly supportive of Trump's trade war, that represents an improvement from the 52%-22% negative split in early June.
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