Former President Donald Trump has announced that he plans to escalate the U.S.-China trade war if he is elected for a second term in November. Trump confirmed in an interview that he is considering imposing tariffs of 60% or higher on Chinese goods. He stated, "We have to do it," emphasizing the need for action. The Washington Post first reported on the Trump campaign's consideration of this theoretical tariff plan.
Furthermore, Trump mentioned the possibility of even higher tariffs, indicating a willingness to take a strong stance against China. However, this proposal has faced criticism, particularly from former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, who is Trump's sole remaining presidential challenger. Haley expressed concerns about the impact of these tariffs on American pocketbooks, stating that they would raise household expenses by $2,600 per year.
Wall Street investors also share concerns about another trade war with China, as it could disrupt markets once again. Trump initiated the trade war in 2018, imposing $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods. In response, China implemented its own set of tariffs against the U.S., leading to years of economic battles that disrupted global trade dynamics.
The trade war with China has come at a cost for Americans, with an estimated $195 billion lost since 2018, according to the American Action Forum. It has also resulted in the loss of over 245,000 U.S. jobs, according to the U.S.-China Business Council. Deutsche Bank estimated that the trade war caused the stock market to lose trillions.
The trade dispute has not only had economic consequences but has also strained geopolitical relations between the U.S. and China. President Joe Biden has been working to improve these icy relations since taking office. Trump, on the other hand, has criticized Biden for appeasing China while simultaneously expressing admiration for China's President, Xi Jinping.
In the past, Trump has praised Xi for his strong leadership and grip on power. He even referred to Xi as a "really good friend" during his time as president. Trump's comments about being a dictator "from day one" if re-elected raised concerns among election experts. Although Trump later clarified that he meant it figuratively for his first day in office, the comment has provided ammunition for his opponents.