WASHINGTON (AP) – The world’s two biggest economies have fired the opening shots in a trade war that could have wide-ranging consequences for consumers, workers, companies, investors and political leaders.
With the United States slapping a 25 percent tax on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports starting Friday, China was set to hit back with taxes on an equal amount of U.S. products, including soybeans, lobsters, sport-utility vehicles and whiskey.
The United States accuses China of using predatory tactics in a push to supplant U.S. technological dominance. The tactics include forcing American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market, as well as outright cyber-theft. Trump’s tariffs are meant to pressure Beijing to reform its trade policies.
FILE- In this June 29, 2017, file photo containers are stacked up in Elizabeth, N.J., as a truck drives by at Port of Elizabeth. The U.S. has threatened to impose 25 percent duties on $34 billion in Chinese products starting Friday, July 6, 2018, and China has said it will fire back with corresponding tariffs. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
Though the first exchange of tariffs is unlikely to inflict much economic harm on either nation, the damage could soon escalate. President Donald Trump, who has boasted that winning a trade war will be easy, said Thursday that he’s prepared to impose tariffs on up to $550 billion in Chinese imports – a figure that exceeds the $506 billion in goods that China actually shipped to the United States last year.
Escalating tariffs would likely raise prices for consumers, inflate costs for companies that rely on imported parts, rattle