Steve Bannon, who claims to have helped President Trump draft the battle plan for the ongoing trade war, says that Trump’s strategy is to make the conflict “unprecedentedly large” and “unbearably painful” for Beijing, according to an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post

The ultimate goal, says Bannon – is not just to force China to give up its “unfair trade practices,” but to “re-industrialize America” since manufacturing used to be the core of the nation’s power. Bannon also criticized the “Made in China 2025” plan for Beijing to catch up with the West in 10 key tech sectors – saying that Chinese firms were relying in generous government support to reduce future technological reliance on the West.

Bannon, who claimed to have helped Trump draw up the trade war plan, said that in the past, tariffs had been limited to imports of between roughly US$10 billion and US$30 billion but the sheer magnitude of the more than US$500 billion in question this time had “caught Beijing off guard”.

“It’s not just any tariff. It’s tariffs on a scale and depth that is previously inconceivable in US history,” Bannon said.

He said Beijing had relied on “round after round of talks” to take the momentum out of the US punitive measures, but the delaying tactics would not work.

“They always want to have a strategic dialogue to tap things along. They never envisioned that somebody would actually do this.” –South China Morning Post

Bannon says he and Trump were convinced that the US would win a trade war, and that Chinese elites were worried about the same, with “so many senior Chinese officials exhausting all channels” in order to move their money out of China and snap up West Coast and New York real estate.

“Why [does there have] to be massive capital controls placed on Chinese money? Otherwise all will flee to midtown Manhattan … They want to buy real assets in the US. That shows you a dramatic lack of confidence in their own economy.”

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