China says the US ‘has initiated a trade war,’ and Beijing isn’t afraid to fight back

One area where we’ve always been critical of the current president is in the area of trade. Trade should be as free as possible. Tariffs just make things more expensive for consumers. They can also be politically destabilizing as we see here. Trump’s distrust of free trade is unfortunate.

His criticism of agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership and NAFTA are legitimate as both are in many respects crony agreements, not really about “free trade.” However, the movement from these agreements should be toward freer, less restricted trade not toward more restricted trade.

(From CNBC)

China’s Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday morning that it will take counter measures if the U.S. publishes an additional tariffs list.

In a statement posted on its website, the ministry said China will protect its interests, taking both quantitative and qualitative measures against the move.

The fresh threats of additional tariffs violate prior negotiations and consensus reached between the two countries, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said. A trade war will hurt companies and people in both countries, it added in the Chinese statement…

That is true but putting China on notice is not entirely without merit. We must remember that Xi has recently made himself “president for life” (or at least that’s what he hopes) and he is planning his moves too. Also it’s not like China is a paragon of “free trade.” Far from it.

…Trump has requested the United States Trade Representative to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent.

The duties would take effect “if China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced,” Trump said.