A couple of months ago one of America’s most successful billionaires, Donald Trump, nearly ran for President. The fact that he eventually didn’t, may have been caused on a multiplicity of factors upon which this fictional interview is based (and the assumption that Premier Wen Jiabao doesn’t need an Interpreter).
The date is March 2013; President Donald Trump (assuming he swept to victory in the 2012 elections) is in Beijing with his contingent to conduct high level talks with the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The banquet hall is well illuminated; the leaders of both nations are seated face-to-face across a lavishly spread dinner table to discuss strategic relations and a host of other contentious issues.
Donald: Mr.Wen, thank you for having me and my contingent over today. I am here today to take our strategic relationship to the next level.
Wen Jiabao: (Smiles and Nods).
Donald: Before that, Mister Wen, I think you and I need to do a little bit of plain talk!! Things are really not going as well as they should be Mr. Wen, and I am here to address that.
(Some whispering is seen among the Chinese contingent)
Wen Jiabao: What are your concerns President Trump?
Donald: The United States of America, Mr.Wen is not only the largest democracy in the world but also the world’s biggest economy. We need to be treated with a little respect!!
(More shuffling continues, and this time Premier Wen Jiabao has a puzzled look)
Wen Jiabao: Well, President Trump, I am truly sorry that you are not happy with the 21 Gun salute that our Military had given you nor the red carpet welcome that you have been given ..
Donald Trump: (Interjects) NO NO NO! Mr. Wen, This is about the larger picture, or should I say, the Global Imbalance that exists in the system. The fact is that you guys have been undervaluing your currency for the last generation or so, and so you now have a China with a huge surplus and an America with an even Larger Deficit.
Wen Jiabao: Well of course President Trump, that’s common knowledge to anyone these days.
Donald Trump: (leans back with folded arms) So tell me then, how do we fix this?
Wen Jiabao: (leans forward, takes of his spectacles) You see Mister President, a very famous American Senator once said “IF IT AIN’T BROKE .. DON’T FIX IT!!”.
Donald Trump: This is precisely what I am talking about!! As the top two economies in the world, we should be setting an example of how economies do business together effectively.
Wen Jiabao: Hold on a second, President Trump.
(Wen Jiabao hands out a copy of the Central Bank of China Report to Trump, who glances through it ..)
Wen Jiabao: As you can see, President Trump we hold approximately $1 Trillion of your treasuries, which is almost close to half if not 40% of the total worth of treasuries issued. Moreover, as the world’s second largest economy we kept buying your bonds to support the dollar despite your slugfest in Congress last summer.
Donald Trump: Okay .. Okay
Wen Jiabao: Oh!! and here is something else for you to see. Look!! Our Forex reserves are presently at $3 Trillion dollars while your nation has a staggering debt of $14.5 Trillion. So with all due respect President Trump, we are certainly not equals!!
Donald Trump (frowns): That’s why we need to address this, Mister Wen.
Wen Jiabao: That may be how you see it, but It’s working perfectly fine for China and for Asia as well. Our reserves are high and our workers are efficient. This is capitalism, for there to be winners, there have to be losers too. You of all people should know this.
Donald Trump: Let the renminbi appreciate by 5%. Relax your controls and give the US Premium Goods Export access to this market in China.
(Wen Jiabao leans backwards and consults with his team and then gets back to the table .. )
Wen Jiabao: If we agree to do this, what would you give China in return?
Donald Trump: Well, what would you want?
Wen Jiabao: Access to American High Technology Defense and Warfare Equipment. The ability to …
Donald Trump (snaps): Mister Wen, let me warn you that I can drive a hard bargain. Let me put it this way; we feel that as a nation, China should give the US access to its growing market. Otherwise, my contingent and I would be compelled to make an official statement recognizing the “Dalai Lama” as the rightful leader of Tibet.
(Donald Trump now leans backwards, cross his hands and sports a broad grin on his face. The Chinese contingent is now nervously deliberating amongst themselves)
Wen Jiabao (leans forward): You are making this political.
Donald Trump (chuckling): Mister Wen, your government’s record for human rights rivals only North Korea and Burma!! Anyway, here is a list of things we would like. Firstly, the renmimbi should appreciate by around 8% over the next 6 months. Secondly, tariff free market access should be given to all US firms in accordance with WTO norms
(The Chinese Contingent is still deliberating now nervously and louder, finally Wen Jiabao restrains them)
Wen Jiabao: President Trump, If we were to allow the renminbi to appreciate, our exports would be less competitive in the global market, which is not in line with our present economic policy. I am sorry. Moreover, as far as your request for market access goes, I would request you raise your concerns through the proper channels (WTO).
(Donald Trump’s face is boiling with anger – HE BANGS THE TABLE !!)
Donald Trump: This is unacceptable to the United States of America!! We will now have to take unilateral action against what we feel as a violation of human rights and a suppression of self-expression of democracy in Taiwan. In the interests of democracy, we may need to supply Taiwan with further weapons.
Wen Jiabao (smiling): Mister President, in that case, we would need to boost our military capability to handle any secessionary threats that may result from this weaponization of our renegade province. We may therefore decide to sell (or dump) a sizeable proportion of our holdings of US treasuries into the Open market in order to meet this objective.
Donald Trump: Haaaah !! Gotcha there Wen. You cannot do that without burning your own fingers, we are all in the same boat here you see.
Wen Jiabao (gets up to leave): President Trump, I am sure that you are aware that we just need to dump more than a handful of these Dollar bonds into the market to do the job. The sentiment itself would be enough to sink the dollar. Dollar bond yields will sky-rocket and your government with its 14.5 Trillion debt will be will be forced to service them. Today, Europe borrows from us, Africa’s reserves are all tied up to us, to whom will you go to service your debt?
(Donald Trump stares at Premier Wen)
Wen Jiabao (continues): So politics aside, Mister President .. as they used to say in your national media before the last election… “It’s still the economy stupid…” Now if you’ll excuse me. I have a meeting with the Venezuelan ambassador