As Trump Escalates Trade War, U.S. and China Move Further Apart With No End in Sight


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The New York Times
SOURCE: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/01/world/asia/trump-trade-war-china.html
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Summary

AdvertisementSupported byBy Ana SwansonWASHINGTON — President Trump’s trade war with China entered new territory on Sunday as his next round of tariffs took effect, changing the rules of trade in ways that have no recent historic precedent and driving the world’s two largest economies further apart.American tariffs on foreign goods had already climbed higher than any time since the 1960s before Sunday, when the United States imposed a new 15 percent tariff. Trade between the world’s two largest economies has slumped, and China, which had long been America’s biggest trading partner, dropped to third place in the first half of the year, behind Mexico and Canada.American companies that once believed the trade war would blow over are now scrambling to limit their exposure to China, in some cases shifting production to other countries, like Vietnam, to avoid tariffs that will soon reach as much as 30 percent.When he initially began his trade war, the president said his goal was to improve conditions for American companies operating in China, reduce the trade deficit between the two nations and create a more level playing field for American companies competing with Chinese firms.His combative approach, he said, would secure a historic trade deal that would result in China buying billions of dollars’ worth of American farm products and stop Beijing from “stealing” technology from United States companies.But after months of stalled negotiations and China’s refusal to give in to America’s demands, his strategy has taken a more punitive turn. He increased existing and future tariffs and his aides said the president’s only regret was not raising them even higher.Mr. Trump’s conflicting goals — trying to make China a fairer place for American companies to do business while simultaneously punishing companies that are operating there — are threatening to turn what began as a limited skirmish into a drawn-out and costly quagmire, with little sense of how the United States or China will retreat.“For those who supported tariffs as a tool to bring the Chinese to the table to reach a big deal, all of this now seems beside the point,” said Scott Kennedy, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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