Fears of a global trade war ramped up on Thursday as President Donald Trump signed a memorandum imposing about $60 billion worth of trade tariffs on Chinese imports.
The White House said the move is in response to longstanding complaints of China stealing trade secrets, technologies and other forms of intellectual property from the United States.
At the same time, Trump has exempted the European Union, South Korea, Canada, Mexico and other allies from steel and aluminum tariffs set to take effect Friday.
By the end of 2017, China’s trade surplus with the U.S. was more than $375 billion – meaning the U.S. imported that much more from China than China imported from the U.S.
“The word that I want to use is ‘reciprocal,’” Trump said at a White House press briefing announcing the tariffs on Thursday. “When they charge 25 percent for a car to go in and we charge 2 percent for their car to come into the United States, that’s not good. That’s how China rebuilt itself.”
Even before Trump made his announcement, reports indicated China won’t take the tariffs sitting down. Will Trump’s aggressive policies correct a trade imbalance between China or destabilize the global economy?
Joining us to give their perspectives on these trade measures are Robert Gulotty, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago; and Brett Manchel, an intellectual property attorney at the firm Jayaram Law.