Trade Wars: Trump loads decisive volley against China

Prices are rising, especially for steel and aluminium, and companies are starting to feel reticent about investments or planning to shift production overseas to avoid retaliation against US exports

Steep American tariffs on Chinese goods worth tens of billions of dollars are due to take effect at midnight Thursday, as US President Donald Trump fires the decisive salvo in a trade war between the world’s top two economies.

Beijing has vowed to retaliate dollar-for-dollar, “immediately” imposing counter-tariffs on American exports despite warnings the burgeoning conflict will send shockwaves around the global economy and strike at the heart of the world trading system.

En route to Montana aboard Air Force One on Thursday, President Donald Trump erased any hope of a last-minute change, confirming the China tariffs would indeed kick in at the stroke of midnight.

But in a fresh sign of industry’s unease, a business survey on Thursday again showed the US services sector already has experienced supply chain interruptions and rising costs due both to the looming tariffs and those already in place.

“We’re starting to see signs of inflation, not sharp inflation, but definitely inflation,” Anthony Nieves, head of a services industry survey committee for the Institute for Supply Management, told reporters.

White House trade officials say the current strength of the US economy means the US can withstand more pain than its rivals if the battle escalates further.

But economists also say the trade war comes as the expansion of the world’s largest economies — which is bolstering demand for US goods and services — may be starting to run out of steam, raising the risks that tariffs

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