The Trump administration has announced plans to impose tariffs worth of $50 billion on Chinese imports, along with new restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States.
The move comes just weeks after Trump slapped blanket tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, angering allies in Europe and East Asia. Some of these concerns were allayed on Thursday when it was announced that Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Korea, and Mexico would be receiving a temporary exception.
The China tariffs usher in a trade showdown that has been long expected by President Trump’s base, whom were frequently told that China would be punished for its unfair trade practices during the 2016 presidential campaign. The $50 billion tariff package does just that, and perhaps more importantly for the long-term is that it shifts US-China relations to more openly antagonistic ground. Yet there are still concerns that tariffs aren’t the best tool available to President Trump if he wants to even the playing field of US-China trade.