This morning, I woke up to no less than four push notifications with the cheery news that the long-anticipated trade war with China began just after the stroke of midnight.
If you haven’t been following the lead-up to this global economic pissing contest, here’s a very brief primer: Donald Trump has long charged the Chinese government with unfair trade practices, and campaigned on promises to target the US trade deficit with China.
Making good on his threats, the US government has now imposed trade tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, including auto parts and medical tools. In retaliation, the Chinese government announced it had imposed tariffs on an equal amount of US products.
And it may not stop here: According to the New York Times, Trump yesterday threatened to follow up with increasing levies on up to $450 billion worth of Chinese products.
What will the impact be? How will this end? No one really knows, though many experts believe that the escalating trade war will weaken both the U.S. and global economy. As Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, put it to the Times, a lot depends on what Donald Trump decides to do, which is reassuring!! “At the moment, I don’t see how this ends,” he said. “This is very much in the president’s hands because he’s got advisers that seem divided, some substantively, some tactically. I just don’t think we’ve had any clear signs of the resolution he wants.”
Like many of you, I have some questions. Are there any adults in the room? Am I actually rooting for China in this trade war? (Maybe?) Are we lurching toward a global economic recession? Will this lead the Trump family to stop making their wares in Chinese factories?