Has the trade war started?

China has announced new tariffs on 128 American products

Has the trade war started?

Leer en español: ¿Ha comenzado la guerra comercial?

After President Trump decided to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel, China’s Commerce Ministry said the measure would “seriously impact the normal order of international trade”. Now, the Chinese government has announced tariffs of up to 25% on US imports, which would have a proportionate impact to that of US duties on Chinese steel and aluminum. 

In addition to tariffs against several countries, the US administration plans to implement protectionist measures specifically targeting China. As Bloomberg reported, “in a two-week span, President Donald Trump ordered up an array of tariffs against numerous countries, blocked Chinese takeovers of U.S. companies and sought new restrictions on future Chinese investment”.

In response, China has decided to enforce new tariffs of 15% and 25% on 128 American goods. While the US is already preparing a second round of tariffs, the Chinese government is only focusing on its response to those that have already gone into effect. 

The list of items that will be subject to new import taxes upon entry to China include pork, wine, nuts, and certain fruits. “Those products make up just a tiny portion of the hundreds of billions of dollars of goods shipped between the two countries each year. But the tariffs are alarming news for the affected industries”, CNN explained.

Trump has justified his tax measures against China by arguing that many jobs have been lost in the US due to unfair practices of the Asian country, such as intellectual property theft. While both countries have already consulted the World Trade Organization (WTO), it is very likely that they will continue using retaliation before the arbiter of international trade disputes makes any important decision.

“Forecasters said they expected the immediate impact of the current American and Chinese measures to be limited”, according to The Independent. “Investors, however, worry that the global recovery might be set back if other governments respond by raising import barriers”. 

The US imports more goods from China than any other country in the world. Last year, Americans imported around $505 billion USD worth of goods while only sending $130 USD to China, which means that there is a gap of $375 billion USD. President Donald Trump might be underestimating the economic power of China, and his administration will need to carefully consider their next move. As pointed out by Bloomberg, “the US can´t win a battle against China by itself”. 

 

Latin American Post | Paula Bautista
Copy Edited by Susana Cicchetto

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