UNITED STATES. Washington’s penchant for brandishing “big sticks” will come back to haunt it, China Daily, official organ of the Chinese government, warned as trade tensions between the two countries continued to fray. And China, has identified just where that haunting will begin: in America’s heartland. By the look of things, the US looks likely to be hit hard.
And China said it will turn the heat up on Trump by targeting the states that elected him. As it stands, the first wave of Chinese 25% tariffs will hit $34bn in US goods and take effect on 6 July, with another $16bn still to be scheduled.
They included a variety of agricultural products, including soybeans, corn and wheat along with beef, pork and poultry, plus automobiles. A second set of tariffs to begin at a later date will cover other goods including coal, crude oil, gasoline and medical equipment. China has made it known that they have been politically motivated in their choice of US products to target.
Speaker Paul Ryan:
Take the swing-state of Wisconsin. Trump carried the state by less than 1% in the 2016 presidential election and it is the home state of the outgoing House speaker, Paul Ryan & Motorbike manufacturer Harley-Davidsons. A further loss of jobs to the already troubled brand could prove unpopular with Wisconsin’s voters, many of whom are employed in agriculture, another target of tariffs.
The largest item on the Chinese list due to take effect in two weeks – soybeans. They are grown in Iowa and Nebraska, both Trump states; bourbon comes from Kentucky, another Trump state, home of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. Chinese tariff hikes on oranges will hit growers in the swing-state of Florida.
Senate Leader Mitch McConnell:
“The idea behind China’s strategic retaliation is to remind the president that he needs those states for Republican victories in the fall”.
“The Chinese are responding to US tariffs by picking off particular products. They’re looking to increase the cost of production for US industries”. Beijing “is hoping that just the presentation of their list will be enough to get US industry to convince the administration that it’s going down the wrong path”.
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