There will be no 1930s-style catastrophic ending to the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute. Washington and Beijing are involved in an escalation of rhetoric over trade deficits and dubious trade policies, but that’s not the same as an actual trade war.
After everything is said and done, there may be surprisingly few tariffs implemented — or if new tariffs are enforced, they may end up having a negligible economic impact on the day-to-day functioning of the world’s two largest economies.
But it’s been an unsettling couple of weeks in the global trade landscape.
First, President Donald Trump’s trade team announced $50 billion worth of new tariffs on 1,300 Chinese-origin items — many of them in high-tech sectors — under the USTR’s Section 301 findings. Beijing swiftly retaliated with its own list of tariffs, also worth roughly $50 billion, which have singled out key U.S. export sectors, such as agriculture and civil aircraft. Then, just days after slapping $50 billion in tariffs on China, Trump escalated the bluster and suggested adding an additional $100 billion.
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