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Letter: U.S. trade policy on a roller-coaster ride

President Donald Trump holds a piece of paper

President Donald Trump holds a piece of paper he said was a trade agreement with Mexico, while speaking to the media before departing from the White House on June 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. Credit: Getty Images/Mark Wilson

Be it in friendship or international trade, the bond of mutual trust and fruitful relationship can never be forged if the pendulum of trust swings from left to right and keeps one guessing about the intentions of the friend or a trading partner. It gets more bizarre when unilateral decisions are made without a close and candid dialogue.

Unfortunately, the trade policy of President Donald Trump’s administration is on a wild roller coaster ride, and is not letting our partners know where we are taking them [“Trump invents a trade crisis, then solves it,” Editorial, June 11]. It is understandable that in the matter of exports and imports, the playing field should be leveled with due consideration given to the developing countries.

However, be it China, the European Union, India or our own neighbor Mexico, bullying partners into trade compliance by publicly shaming and linking it to immigration and other non-trade matters may work in the short run, but would be doomed to a failure in the long run, which matters most.

Although Mexico has acceded to the U.S. conditions and has received temporary respite from punitive escalating tariffs, I hope the Trump administration takes a balanced and mature approach in renegotiating the terms and conditions in a fair and amicable way where trust is the driver. If not, we will be soon heading toward a world trade war, leveraged with weapons in abundance found in indiscriminate retaliatory and counter retaliatory measures.

Atul M. Karnik,