Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times suggested in an editorial Sunday that the national government would elect to retaliate against Donald Trump should he launch a long-feared trade war with Asia’s biggest economy. Their method of counterattack? No more iPhones. And cars.
“A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the US,” read the editorial, which can be considered a conduit for government sentiment toward current events and might hint at actual policy or plans by Beijing.
“Not long after Barack Obama took office, US trade and commerce authorities announced a 35 percent import tariff on Chinese tires. In response, China took retaliatory steps of imposing tariffs on US chicken and automotive products,” the editorial takes pain to remind readers, trying to assert this is no mere threat to do what Samsung did to itself and explode iPhone 7 sales. “Both China and the US suffered losses as a result. From then on, the Obama administration waged no trade war against China. If Trump imposes a 45 percent tariff on Chinese imports, China-US trade will be paralyzed.”
Trump constantly attacked Mexico and China on the campaign trail, the former for attracting North American manufacturing jobs from the US because of lower wages and other overhead, and China for their alleged manipulation of currency. China’s manufacturing prowess is already well-known throughout the world, to the point that some worry their cheap manufacturing might actually cause China competitive issues later.
“Trump’s accusations against China for currency manipulation cannot hold water. If he does list China as a currency manipulator and slap steep tariffs on Chinese imports, China will take countermeasures,” the editorial read, tariffs that Trump’s campaign suggested could be as steep as 45 percent. “Trump is not obstinate with regard to ties with China. Making things difficult for China politically will do him no good.”
In the interim, anxiety bout Trump’s ambiguous security and economic policies have caused waxing and waning in global markets. The Mexican peso is down and there is fear Trump will crack down on Mexican-American remittances to their home country. A trade war with China might spark dramatic price increases on US consumers though, some economists have warned.
The presidency has limited capacity to implement tariffs — temporary 150-day taxes that cannot exceed 15 percent on goods.
“If Trump wrecks Sino-US trade, a number of US industries will be impaired. Finally the new president will be condemned for his recklessness, ignorance and incompetence and bear all the consequences,” the editorial concluded. “We are very suspicious the trade war scenario is a trap set up by some American media to trip up the new president.”