Trump’s Trade War Is Getting Real

Last week President Trump increased tariffs on Chinese goods entering the US. Today China retaliated. Now the ball is back in our court:

The U.S. is looking to up the stakes further with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative also planning on Monday to announce details of an even larger tranche of tariffs on China’s goods than the one imposed last week.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement Friday that the president has ordered all remaining imports from China that aren’t yet subject to duties to face the tariffs….The office of the USTR will publish details of the next tariff increase on its website Monday “as we begin the process prior to a final decision on these tariffs,” the statement said.

I’ve long figured that the real test here is whether Trump is willing to raise tariffs on iPhones to 25 percent. What would happen then? Would Apple just eat the extra taxes and keep its price the same? Or would the price of iPhones be raised by some amount?

This whole trade war seems sort of distant to most people who aren’t farmers, but 25 percent tariffs on consumer goods from China would suddenly get everyone’s attention. I guess we’ll know in a couple of months.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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