The White House’s threats of starting a trade war with China offers little substance and much hot air, writes Zachary Karabell of Wired. After many recent proposals, the imposition of actual tariffs was delayed yet again. It seems that President Trump is using the threat of them as a bargaining chip to gain favors from China. For example, after suggesting to isolate a big Chinese firm that had violated sanctions against Iran, he pulled back to secure China’s cooperation on the North Korea issue. Ultimately, any significant tariffs on Chinese goods will hurt US companies too. Trump likely knows this and will probably not escalate the trade war.
President Trump has made clear his desire to go on with significant tariffs on US trade partners, reports Doug Palmer of Politico. His strategy is to gain concessions from other countries with a trade war. Apart from China, Canada, the EU, and Mexico are in his sights. The latter two have stated publicly that they will respond with strong tariffs on US goods. Trump sees trade as a matter of winning and losing. He is upset by America’s trade deficit and is intent on fixing it with damaging protoctist policies. Steel is key here, as Trump intends to protect US producers from international competition. In doing so he will start a painful trade war.