The path to peace in a trade war between the United States and China is getting harder to find as the world’s two biggest economies pile ever more taxes on each other’s products.
The United States is scheduled to slap tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports Monday, adding to the more than $50 billion worth that already face U.S. import taxes. China has vowed to counterpunch with tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods.
President Donald Trump is ready to up the ante, threatening to tax just about everything China ships to the United States.
The Americans and Chinese haven’t held high-level talks since June, raising doubts about whether a resolution can be reached anytime soon.
“Both sides believe they can outlast the other, fearing any conciliatory move will be viewed as weakness and reduce negotiating leverage,” said Wendy Cutler, a former U.S. trade negotiator who is a vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute.
The tariff exchange is creating casualties in the United States. Companies that import Chinese materials and parts are facing higher prices. So are the consumers who buy everything from burglar alarms to baseball gloves. U.S. farmers are being hurt by China’s retaliatory tariffs on soybeans and other agricultural products.
The administration says its demands are clear: Stop stealing trade secrets. Stop coercing technology transfers. Stop favoring Chinese companies over U.S. and other foreign competitors.
But China’s leaders have ambitious plans to turn their country from the world’s low-cost manufacturer into a technological power in fields from robotics to quantum computing. They are likely to balk at meeting any U.S. demands that would slow the high-tech drive.