Donald Trump must look beyond the immediate consequences a war with Iran would bring and think carefully about how America’s competitors could take advantage of it, Neil Clothier, senior expert at sales and negotiations specialists Huthwaite International said. He warned China is remaining “cautious” as it monitors the evolving relationship between the US and Iran – with Beijing likely to take advantage in the event of a fallout.
Mr Clothier told Express.co.uk: “Prior to the newly imposed trade sanctions by the US, China invested millions in Iranian energy supplies and oil, and Iran remains an important energy supplier in the Silk Road Economic Belt, so it’s somewhat surprising that, at least for the time being, China is complying with these new sanctions – particularly following the recent breakdown in its own negotiations with the US.
“However, breaking sanctions does not come lightly, and could result in being cut off from international finance.
“And so whilst China is remaining cautious of making sudden moves based on the currently floundering relations between the US and Iran, the US must remain wary as, along with Russia, the Chinese could capitalise on the greater political and economic benefits that could present themselves as a result of fallout from the US-Iranian standoff.
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“Trump and his administration would be wise to look beyond the immediate implications a conflict with Iran would bring on the US, and consider how these other global superpowers could begin to take advantage.”
The US relationship with Iran started to quickly worsen in May last year, when Mr Trump pulled out of the JCPOA.
The US President has been a vocal critic of the agreement, also known as Iran nuclear deal signed by Barack Obama and other international powers including the UK and China, and has labelled it more than once “horrible” and “one-sided”.
The decision of “dishonouring” the deal with Iran – together with the Paris climate accords and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – could weaken the Trump administration’s negotiating image, according to Mr Clothier.
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He said: “What Trump needs to do is show that he, and his administration, is willing to negotiate more generally.
“By dishonouring the Iran Trade Deal, it could be perceived as the US distancing themselves and likely to walk away from any negotiating table – and an unpredictable negotiator is never well received.
“If the US hopes to have allies on which to rely and to trade with, particularly if the US-Iran situation results in war, this needs to be reversed. Showing flexibility and willing is key in successful negotiations.
“Respect is also a very important part of getting what you want out of a negotiation process, particularly when dealing with countries, such as Iran and China, where huge importance is placed upon being respectful and showing respect.
“An essential part of global negotiations is to recognise and understand the importance of any cultural differences at a play, and a clever negotiator uses this to their advantage.
“It’s also paramount that Trump doesn’t fall further into dirty negotiation tactics, which classically aim to purposefully irritate and aggravate your opponent and the situation at hand in order to gain a concession.”
In 2018 Mr Trump has also challenged China in a trade war, imposing tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods.
Beijing and Washington have been entwined in trade talks for months, but they abruptly broke down in early May when the parts failed to reach an agreement.