Speed Reads

Trade Wars

Trump approves tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, and China is prepared to retaliate

President Trump will announce tariffs on about $50 billion worth of Chinese imports as soon as Friday, administration official told several news organizations, and China said it is reluctantly prepared to retaliate; Beijing has already drawn up its own list of $50 billion in targeted U.S. goods, including beef, soybeans, and orange juice. Trump threatened to levy the tariffs in March, and his administration is finalizing a list of $100 billion more in Chinese goods, Reuters reports. Administration officials say the tariffs are in response to China forcing U.S. companies to share technology secrets with Chinese business partners, but Trump mostly focuses on America's trade deficit with China.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in China to brief leaders on Trump's North Korea summit. Standing by his side, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi told reporters that Trump has two choices, "cooperation and mutual benefit" or "confrontation and mutual loss. China chooses the first," he added. "We hope the U.S. side can also make the same wise choice. Of course, we have also made preparations to respond to the second kind of choice." Beijing has also said recent U.S.-China trade agreements won't go into effect if Trump follows through with the new tariffs.

Scott Kennedy, a specialist on the Chinese economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says China isn't bluffing. "I don't think they would cower or immediately run to the negotiating table to throw themselves at the mercy of Donald Trump," Kennedy told The Associated Press. "They see the U.S. is isolated and the president as easily distracted." Tariffs will almost certainly raise prices for consumers, though White House officials say their list is designed to minimize that impact.