Impact of U.S.-China trade tariffs on U.S. companies

A worker makes flags for U.S. President Donald Trump's

Most economists agree that the Trump administration is misreading the impact of a trade imbalance, which they say produces no economic harm to the U.S. But the trade deficit with China has become a flashpoint for President Donald Trump and his supporters, who rallied behind the president in June when his administration unilaterally increased tariffs on some $34 billion in Chinese imports. You're not going to be too angry with Trump, I can tell you. Juchems, who says he didn't vote in the 2016 election, gives President Trump leeway to resolve the crisis - but says his patience is not unlimited.

Perhaps Trump thinks that because he can impose tariffs on more goods than the Europeans, the USA will win the game. Several countries vowed to retaliate with their own tariffs.

The Trump administration on Tuesday revealed the largest emergency farm aid package since 1998 that will offer U.S. farmers up to $12 billion in aid through three different mechanisms run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"He's been pushing to get better deals, and he feels like he's getting them", said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders. It is no good looking askance to the United States, where growth is steaming along, and hoping continued global recovery acts as a boiler-room for faster economic expansion. This makes it more likely that it will yield to Trump's demands. Many countries have consequently targeted American agricultural products with tariffs in retaliation for Trump's tariffs on steel, solar panels, washing machines, and other foreign-made goods. Roughly half of voters (49 percent) believe raising tariffs and barriers to imports will do more to raise the cost of goods and hurt the economy, according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey. For example, in November 2017, it issued a report refusing to acknowledge China's market economy status.

Other public opinion surveys surface a similar lack of support for the administration's general trade actions. Every market is an important one, particularly China, which imports one of every three rows of USA soybeans.

The partisan division on the president's record is evident in other surveys.

Trade volume with China typically picks up at this time of year as the shipping industry enters its peak season, starting with the surge of retail events that begin next month with back-to-school sales promotions and running to the December holiday shopping season.

President Trump has often said he wants to "level the playing field" for USA companies. For example, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican, said he told White House advisers that Wednesday's announcement about the Trump-Juncker agreement "was a positive sign and we appreciate the administration lowering the temperature with the European Union".

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, said in a press release the help is welcomed by farmers who are experiencing the financial impact of the tariffs.

At the same time, there is some evidence that the president's criticism of the E.U.as a "foe" is resonating. Fully 11 percent judge European Union countries to be "unfriendly" or "enemies" - a view held by 15 percent of Republicans. Given the partial nature of the threat - Africa is an unfortunate bystander rather than a primary protagonist in this trade tussle - the continent would do well to limit its public censure of the United States.

Trump and key cabinet supporters are approaching the trade war on an economywide scale but have been forced to recognize the implications of China's countermeasures that have helped depress American farm markets and have raised the prices of raw materials to some manufacturers. Between 2013 and 2015 there were 15 rounds of talks between Brussels and Washington in an effort to conclude a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

If Trump succeeds in using trade wars to bring down European and Chinese trade barriers, he may end up being one of the greatest free-trade presidents in history.

Bruce Stokes is director of global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center.

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