Trump Slaps China with New Tariffs, Escalating Trade War

President Donald Trump’s administration increased tariffs on some Chinese imports, which went in effect on Friday, putting the economy and his 2020 reelection bid in risk.

The move will also escalate the already heated trade war between the world’s two largest economies, who have failed to reach any breakthroughs in trade negotiations. Tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products increases from 10% to 25% at 12:01 am ET, which quickly prompted China to retaliate with “necessary countermeasures” that the government vowed to take.

“We hope the United States will meet us halfway, and work with us to resolve existing issues through cooperation and consultation,” China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement, according to CNN.

The latest move comes shortly after Trump accused China of not abiding to commitments made during trade talks and said the country indulged in unfair trade practices, in particular concerning intellectual property and technology transfers.

Republican lawmakers have for some time urged the President to reach a deal with China to lower tariffs detrimental to U.S. farmers and manufacturers, but have not managed to convince him to do so.

“We were getting very close to a deal, then they started to renegotiate the deal. We can’t have that,” Trump said on Thursday.

The Hill writes that although GOP lawmakers have largely supported Trump regarding his crackdown on China’s alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property and market manipulation, they are frustrated by the prolonged trade war which has seen farmer states hurt by China’s retaliatory tariffs on American agricultural exports.

The current situation also poses a danger to the U.S. economy in general and thus to Trump’s re-election in 2020, especially because Trump is largely seen as having no strategy in negotiating a trade deal with China.

“It roils the markets, it doesn’t provide stability and he’s got no plan. So I’m not going to support this,” said Representative Tim Ryan.

On Thursday, a Chinese trade delegation arrived in Washington. Vice Premier Liu He, who leads the delegation, expressed hope that the two sides can “engage in rational and candid exchanges” and stressed that increasing tariffs is not a solution.

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