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USA - Backfire Policies: Trump Doesn’t Understand His Own Trade War - by Mark Gongloff

It's not entirely clear what President Donald Trump wants out of his trade war against China (and the rest of the world, for that matter), but one theory is that he thinks his tariffs will hurt so badly that Beijing will have to cede to his demands (whatever those are), helping U.S. trade while also firing up his base ahead of the midterms.

Michael Schuman argues this approach misunderstands a lot about China. First, the tariffs won’t hurt it that badly. Second, the tariffs won’t hurt just China – they’ll also hurt foreign companies, including Americans (and that’s before we even start talking about retaliation). Finally, they’ll only make Xi Jinping dig in his heels more. After all, he has a political base too.

Another Trump misconception ahead of the trade wars was that nobody would retaliate, writes Ramesh Ponnuru. This belief – part of the idea that trade wars are easy to win – is one of four “new rules” (some might call them “fundamental misunderstandings”) Trump followed going into his trade wars. The other three are: 1) inflict pain on your own companies and consumers; 2) fight every country at once; and 3) keep your demands unclear

Former WTO chief judge James Bacchus suggests Trump is right to complain about China’s “Made in China 2025” drive, which just looks like more protectionism. He argues China would be more likely to achieve its goals by following the rules. But James, like Michael, notes the West has exploited and cheated China for a very long time. That might help explain not only why China breaks the West’s rules but also why it won’t buckle to Trump.

Read more: Trump Doesn’t Understand His Own Trade War - Bloomberg

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