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Trump Ups the Ante By $60 Billion in His Doomed Trade War With China

Posted March 23, 2018

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues

(Los Angeles Times Editorial Board)

President Trump was evidently just warming up when he ordered global tariffs on steel, aluminum, solar panels and washing machines in recent weeks. The main event came Thursday, when the president announced plans to impose up to $60 billion in tariffs on China. This time, the president is focused on the right problems: China’s abuse of U.S. companies that do business there, its pursuit of technology developed here, and its support for hackers who steal trade secrets online.

Unfortunately, Trump is once again offering the wrong solution. The tariffs aren’t likely to inflict as much pain on China as they will on U.S. consumers and exporters.

For Trump, China has long represented the worst of the worst among trade cheats. The tariffs announced in previous weeks applied to metals and products from a vast array of countries, but their primary target was Chinese exporters that allegedly sell their goods below cost in defiance of global trade agreements. In the view of top administration officials, those unfair practices have been enormously costly to U.S. companies, causing factories to shut down and thousands of workers to lose their jobs. Click here to read more.