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Trump's Trade Rhetoric Is Already Hurting America

More Uncertainty, Less Credibility

Trump announces tariffs on steel and aluminum imports at the White House, March 2018. Leah Millis / REUTERS

As 2018 wears on, talk of a trade war has refused to fade. China and the United States are planning to slap tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of their bilateral trade. Both have placed new limits on foreign direct investment from the other, with murmurings of broader controls in the offing. U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel from much of the world remain firmly in place. And the United States continues to haggle with Canada and Mexico over renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, even as U.S. President Donald Trump periodically threatens to withdraw from the accord altogether.

Some analysts argue that this is all so much sound and fury, signifying nothing. The possibility of a U.S.-Chinese trade war will almost certainly fade away, they maintain, and when it does, the world economy will continue on as if nothing had happened.

That optimism misses

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