China Retaliates! Beijing Threatens $50 Billion of Tariffs on U.S.

The US and China both fund large soft power programmes aimed at bolstering their image abroad
AFP

Just a few hours after the Trump administration released details of its proposed $50 billion in tariffs, China retaliated by announcing its own tariffs on U.S. exports such as soybeans, airplanes, and cars.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

China’s cabinet, the State Council, said Wednesday that the tariffs will cover 106 categories of products and affect $50 billion of Chinese imports of U.S. products. The tariff rate and the sum of goods targeted match the proposal unveiled by the Trump administration Tuesday to punish Beijing for what it says are unfair practices to acquire American technology.

Neither the U.S. nor Chinese tariffs take effect immediately. The Chinese government didn’t specify when its penalties would be imposed. A Finance Ministry statement said that authorities are watching how the U.S. implements its proposed trade actions…

In a key difference [from the sweeping U.S. tariffs], Beijing has targeted the biggest American exports to China: soybeans and airplanes. Many of the other goods on the list—including sorghum and beef—intentionally affect the U.S. Farm Belt, where voters supported President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the plans for retaliation.

That is, China is trying to hurt Trump’s voters. It is not clear if this will be an effective strategy to pressure the administration or simply anger Trump’s supporters and further embolden the president.

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