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A US-China Trade War? Not So Fast

For all its recent threats, Washington doesn’t want a trade war.

  • Last updated: March 22
  • Total word count: 1271 words

By Jacob L. Shapiro

The United States and China are not fighting a trade war – yet. This may seem strange to say, considering that the Trump administration announced on March 22 that it would be seeking to place tariffs on $60 billion worth of Chinese imports in the next few weeks. But the measures introduced this week, combined with the steel and aluminum tariffs announced earlier this month, do not amount to a declaration of war. They are a shot across the bow designed to demonstrate U.S. resolve to the Chinese when it comes to trade. The U.S., for all its recent threats, wants to use these tariffs to build additional leverage with China that it can use in negotiations and to score political points at home. China will make token feints at responding for its domestic audience, but the most likely scenario is Chinese capitulation today so it can live to fight tomorrow.

A Lot to Lose

The U.S. has been working up to this moment since Donald Trump’s first day in office. A

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