Despite growing criticism from within his own party, President Trump is not planning to back down from the escalating trade war with China.
In fact, the administration announced Tuesday that they were setting aside yet another $200 billion in Chinese products that will be targeted for import tariffs. The move comes only three days after the first round of tariffs went into effect on Friday. That round, which was met with swift and possibly illegal retaliation on the part of the communist regime, only targeted $34 billion in Chinese goods. And while China has threatened to escalate the tariff tit-for-tat as long as Trump continues upping the ante, the fact is that they don’t import enough American goods to match the latest salvo.
Of course, that doesn’t rule out retaliation coming in other forms, which is exactly what the Chinese have promised.
While they battle critics who say the trade war will be disastrous for American businesses and the entirety of the U.S. economy, Trump administration spokespeople insist that the tariffs are entirely appropriate in light of China’s theft of U.S. intellectual property.
“These practices are an existential threat to America’s most critical comparative advantage and the future of our economy,” said Trump’s top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer.
Still, the latest round of tariffs did not come without substantial controversy; Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was one of the first to criticize the decision: “Tonight’s announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach.”
President Trump, however, believes that China will be the first to blink as this potential war heats up. He’s put the newest round of tariffs into a two-month cycle of public comment, meaning his communist adversaries have until August 30 to strike a bargain with the U.S. That means we should be able to tell at some point over the next seven weeks whether President Xi Jinping will bow to internal political pressure and fight back…or if he will see the financial and diplomatic benefits of pulling up to the bargaining table with President Trump.
The ultimate decision may come less from the leaders’ proclivities and more from the way the markets react to this escalating conflict. If the U.S. economy takes a tumble over the next two months as a result of market uncertainty, it could affect the Republicans’ chances of winning the midterms. If that starts to look like a possibility, expect prominent members of the GOP Congress to apply direct pressure on Trump to walk away from the imposed tariffs. If we weather the storm on the other hand and China’s financial sector starts to feel the pinch in a politically-devastating way, Trump could come out of this with concessions that no previous president has managed to get.