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trade war
August 23, 2019

The trade war just keeps getting hotter.

China said Friday it will raise tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports in response to new levies on Chinese goods announced by President Trump earlier this month, The New York Times and The Washington Post report.

The State Council Tariff Commission said these tariffs will go into effect on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, when Trump's tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods are scheduled to take effect, and will range from 5 to 10 percent. China also said it will reinstate a 25 percent tariff on automobiles on Dec. 15, as well as a 5 percent tariff on auto parts, per the Post.

The Wall Street Journal reports that if the new tariffs go through, China will have imposed "punitive taxes" on all American imports. Brendan Morrow

May 13, 2019

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is here to offer some unsolicited perspective.

The Arkansas senator thinks everyone needs to take a step back and look at the the bigger picture when it comes to President Trump's trade war with China — even if that bigger picture isn't exactly related to the issue at hand.

Sure, Americans — particularly American farmers — will bear the economic brunt of Trump's decision to increase tariffs and China's own retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of imported U.S. goods. But in the grand scheme of things, Cotton says, it's a small price to pay, especially compared to the sacrifices that the men and women in the U.S. military make.

Cotton's comparison between American farmers and soldiers seemingly came out of the blue during his interview on CBS This Morning. Though CBS News' Gayle King pointed out that the tariffs really have nothing to do with the military, he made the argument that the farmers he's talked to in Arkansas know that their short-term pain is part of a larger plan to keep America prosperous and secure. He said the farmers look at the military and are "willing to bear some of those sacrifices themselves." Tim O'Donnell

December 4, 2018

President Trump's awkwardly-phrased "BIG leap forward" with China on trade got a little smaller on Monday, as his economic team said that contrary to a Trump tweet on Sunday night, China did not agree to "reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S." China raised tariffs on U.S. auto imports to 40 percent, from 15 percent, in retaliation for Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a temporary truce on Saturday night. Getting auto tariffs down to zero is aspirational, Trump's advisers said.

"We don't yet have a specific agreement on that, but I will just tell you ... we expect those tariffs to go to zero," Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, told reporters Monday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said "there is an immediate focus on reducing auto tariffs," but "there's a lot of work to be done over the next 90 days." Trump's top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, said auto tariffs "certainly came up in discussions" with China, but "that's just one of the many tariffs that have to be reduced."

Trump's trade talks with China, with more tariff hikes paused for 90 days, and his push for a skeptical Congress to ratify his revised NAFTA agreement with Canada and Mexico, "are at the center of the White House's agenda and could have profound implications for the global economy if negotiations collapse," The Washington Post notes. "At the same time, they are also fraught with confusion and ambiguity, complicating urgent timelines set by Trump." You can read Jeff Spross' anaysis of Trump's China truce at The Week. Peter Weber

December 2, 2018

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at a dinner meeting Saturday to a 90-day break from further escalating the U.S.-China trade war.

"It's an incredible deal," Trump said of the arrangement on Air Force One on his way home from the G-20 summit in Argentina. "What I'll be doing is holding back on tariffs. China will be opening up. China will be getting rid of tariffs. China will be buying massive amounts of products from us."

"President Trump has agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product at the 10 percent rate, and not raise it to 25 percent at this time," a White House statement said. "Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent."

While negotiations proceed on topics including intellectual property, technology access, and agriculture products, the statement added, "China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries." Bonnie Kristian

September 16, 2018

President Trump is expected to levy a new round of tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as Monday, this time targeting $200 billion in goods with a tax around 10 percent.

That rate is lower than the 25 percent proposed last month, and sources told The Wall Street Journal it is intended to have a less onerous impact on Americans' holiday shopping. However, the rate reportedly could increase if Trump is unsatisfied with Beijing's response — and as Beijing has already pledged retaliation to Trump's next trade war volley, a rate hike is plausible.

This set of tariffs would take effect in November. Beyond that, Trump has also threatened an additional set of taxes on $267 billion in Chinese goods, including mobile phones. If he moves forward with both new rounds of tariffs, Trump will have levied new taxes ranging from 5 to 25 percent on everything America imports from China. Nevertheless, U.S. imports from China increased over the summer. Bonnie Kristian

August 28, 2018

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will start passing out $4.7 billion in direct aid to farmers on Sept. 4 to help them stay afloat while President Trump wages his trade war with China and other countries. The bulk of the direct aid, $3.6 billion, will go to soybean growers. Separately, the administration will spend $1.2 billion to buy certain "commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation," the USDA said, and spend another $200 million helping farmers develop alternative foreign markets. In July, the Trump administration said the subsidy program will provide up to $12 billion in aid to farmers.

Agriculture producers have been pretty clear that they want to trade their products, not take government handouts. They are also worried that when the trade war is over, the foreign markets they have spent years cultivating — China large among them — will have found other countries to purchase from. Peter Weber

June 22, 2018

The escalating economic conflict with the European Union is proving dangerous for American car companies.

After President Trump announced Friday that he would impose a 20 percent tariff on all cars imported from the EU, shares for both European and American car companies plummeted, reports Bloomberg.

Trump sought to punish the EU for its retaliatory tariffs, which included tariffs on about $3.3 billion worth of American goods, including bourbon, orange juice, peanut butter, and motorcycles. The tariffs, mostly at 25 percent, are designed in part to "make noise" by targeting politically important states like Kentucky, Florida, and Wisconsin, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.

Trump punched back by commanding that U.S. car companies "build them here," but investors were wary of his move. The president wants the EU to walk back its import barriers to U.S. goods "soon," but it seems market-watchers aren't holding their breath. Shares of Ford, Tesla, Chrysler, and General Motors fell rapidly after Trump announced the forthcoming tariffs, and Bloomberg reports that Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW each fell in Frankfurt. Lawmakers have criticized Trump's decision to target the auto industry, arguing that his claims that auto imports threaten the country's defense capabilities are baseless. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza

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