Tariffs: US-China trade war comes to a head

The trade war between the US and China is coming to a head. Settlement talks ended last week without results. Shortly beforehand Trump had raised import duties on Chinese goods to 25 percent. Beijing announced countermeasures, threatening Washington with further tariffs. What's behind this conflict and what damage is it doing?

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Trump impairing global economy

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung explains why contrary to Trump's claims, the US won't benefit from the tariffs:

“In reality American importers will pay the tariffs and then try to pass the costs on to their customers. If that works the products will become more expensive for American consumers and they won't be able to afford as much as before. This will impact consumer behaviour. American companies must also reckon with Chinese retaliations that threaten their sales. America's economy is suffering and the tariffs come nowhere near to compensating for this. An ailing America is damaging the global economy. Trump is becoming a liability.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

No one benefits from a trade war

De Volkskrant also warns that other economies will be impacted by the US-China trade war:

“The two biggest economic powers are waging their war while two other economic powers, the EU and Japan, are making no attempt to intervene or mediate. Their rationale seems to be: if your competitors are embroiled in a fight they'll weaken each other and you'll reap the benefits. But that only works in the short run, if at all. ... In the long and medium term the conflict between the US and China will cause global insecurity and hurt the global economy. Regardless of the outcome, there will be less growth in the Chinese and US economies according to the IMF. In trade wars too, there are nothing but losers.”

Novi list (HR) /

Battle over tariffs is just the beginning

The increased tariffs are just the start of a new confrontation, believes Novi list:

“Observers are convinced that the world must prepare for a long-term deterioration in American-Chinese relations, even if Washington and Beijing are able to agree a trade deal. The trade conflicts are just the tip of the iceberg and the rivalry between the US and China is only just starting. Washington increasingly sees China as a rival that is challenging America's global dominance on an economic, political and military level. ... The fact that tensions are growing between China and the US is confirmed by the news that last week Washington sent a warship to the South China sea.”

Ria Nowosti (RU) /

Hallmark insolence

Ria Novosti sees parallels in the US policy towards China and Iran:

“Washington blamed Beijing for the breakdown in negotiations. This once again shows that brazen insolence is the hallmark of US foreign policy: the first step is to accuse its partner of some violation; it then follows up by introducing restrictions (triggering panic on global markets) - and finally it agrees to resume talks. But the decisions taken of course remain in place. Now the world is waiting to see how China will respond. ... But the result is already clear: the trade dispute has entered another round. The situation with Iran is developing along similar lines: Washington is cajoling Tehran out of the nuclear deal with new sanctions and has already had a certain amount of success with this strategy.”