The first rule of trade negotiations is that they take place in private. The minute either side starts setting out goals and demands in public, positions become hardened and compromise becomes an embarrassing climbdown.
Why it matters: With the imposition of massive new tariffs this week, accompanied by explicit threats, Trump has taken Sino-American trade negotiations outdoors, into a public arena where they have much less chance of success. Even before announcing retaliatory countermeasures, China has similarly gone public with its own red lines. Resolving this dispute is not yet impossible, but it has become exponentially harder. Among the dangers: