“‘It behoves each of our governments to avail themselves of all the tools at our disposal in an effort to positively influence the conduct of the Chinese government,’ Mr. Russel said. ‘One of the essential components is a collaborative effort among like-minded countries, and linking arms to ensure that we are presenting a coherent and united front … pushing for adherence to a clear set of rules and principles.’
“While tariffs could be a part of that mix, ‘you don’t use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail.’
“…Mr. Russel said Mr. Trump’s decisions were ‘clearly intended to inflict damage on the Chinese economy’ and ‘you really can’t damage the Chinese economy without damaging the interests of the broader region and the global economic system,’ particularly Australia.
“‘What we are seeing is far more than a trade war,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately even a trade deal is unlikely to stop the downward spiral because the issues are increasingly politicized. Both sides are hardening. It looks to be a lose-lose proposition. I don’t think either country or the region can benefit from this level of friction and enmity between the US and China…’