Education

Learning With: ‘U.S.-China Trade Standoff May Be Initial Skirmish in Broader Economic War’

Before reading the article:

The United States and China have been engaged in a yearlong trade war and, in the last week, it has escalated. On May 13, The Times reported:

The United States and China intensified their trade dispute on Monday, as Beijing said it would increase tariffs on nearly $60 billion worth of American goods and the Trump administration detailed plans to tax nearly every sneaker, computer, dress and handbag that China exports to the United States.

The escalation thrust the world’s two largest economies back into confrontation. While President Trump said on Monday that he would meet with China’s president, Xi Jinping, next month in Japan, the stakes are only increasing as the president continues to taunt and threaten China, causing it to retaliate on American businesses.

The articles continues:

China’s Finance Ministry announced Monday that it was raising tariffs on a wide range of American goods to 20 percent or 25 percent from 10 percent. The increase will affect the roughly $60 billion in American imports already being taxed as retaliation for Mr. Trump’s previous round of tariffs, including beer, wine, swimsuits, shirts and liquefied natural gas exported to China.

The move came after Mr. Trump increased tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to as much as 25 percent on Friday, and threatened to move ahead with taxing the remainder of goods that the United States imports from China. The Office of the United States Trade Representative released a list on Monday of the roughly $300 billion worth of products that could face up to a 25 percent tariff and requested public comment, which will begin the formal process for enacting those duties. The list includes almost every consumer product imaginable, from coffee makers to sneakers to telescopic sights for rifles.

Watch the four-minute video “The Anatomy Of A Trade War” from Newsy. As you watch, respond to the following questions:

• What is a tariff?

• Why might tariffs be considered a “double-edged sword”?

• What is a trade war?

• How do trade wars affect citizens?

Now, read the article, “U.S.-China Trade Standoff May Be Initial Skirmish in Broader Economic War,” and answer the following questions:

1. Why is the Trump administration trying to limit China’s economic influence in the United States and abroad?

2. How is the administration trying to restrain China’s ambitions and methods of influence? Why is this a “tricky task,” according to the article?

3. David Lampton, a China scholar at Stanford University, says the present trade war is a “skirmish in an ongoing battle.” What does he mean by that statement?

4. Why is a trade deal unlikely to change China’s behavior?

5. How do many in China view the United States? How do they view China? How do these views contrast with the American perspective of the two countries?

6. Why has China been resistant to the emerging terms of the trade deal?

7. Since the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, the prevailing view in the United States was that close economic engagement with China would produce an increasingly democratic country that would be closely tied to an international economic order founded mainly on Western liberal ideals. Did this prove to be true? Why or why not?

8. How have Sino-American relations shifted in recent years? What are the future implications of this new relationship?

Finally, tell us more about what you think:

Is a trade war an effective way to restrain China’s ambitions and methods of influence?

In “Trump’s Trade War Escalation Will Exact Economic Pain, Adviser Says,” Jeanna Smialek, Jim Tankersley and Mark Landler write about how this conflict could affect everyday Americans:

President Trump’s chief economic adviser said on Sunday that American consumers would bear some pain from the escalating trade war with China, contradicting Mr. Trump’s claim that his tariffs are a multibillion-dollar, mostly one-way payment by China to the American Treasury.

The comments from Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, came after the 11th round of trade negotiations broke off without a deal, prompting Mr. Trump to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products and begin a process to impose levies on nearly every product China exports to the United States.

“In fact, both sides will pay,” Mr. Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Both sides will suffer on this.”

Mr. Kudlow’s acknowledgment of economic pain, while widely shared by economists, contradicted the president’s view that trade wars are easy to win and that the burden falls disproportionately on America’s trading partners. Mr. Trump again asserted on Monday that there was “no reason” that American consumers would pay the tariffs.

Both Mr. Kudlow and the president say that a protracted trade war will ultimately be in the United States’ financial interest. Mr. Kudlow said that any pain would be worth the price if it forced China to treat American companies more fairly.

“You’ve got to do what you got to do,” Mr. Kudlow said. “We have had unfair trading practices all these years and so in my judgment, the economic consequences are so small that the possible improvement in trade and exports and open markets for the United States, this is worthwhile doing.”

Take a look at these lists of goods that the latest tariffs could make more expensive, including back packs, dog collars, strawberry jam and soy sauce. How many of these do you consume on a regular basis? To what extent might you and your family be affected by these tariffs?

Do you agree with Mr. Trump and Mr. Kudlow that “any pain would be worth the price if it forced China to treat American companies more fairly”? In your opinion, are the tariffs worthwhile if they mean curtailing China’s influence in the world? Why or why not?

Source :nytimes