The Real Target of Trump's Trade War

Jul 24, 2018 | 09:00 GMT

A shipping container is offloaded from a Chinese container ship at the Port of Oakland on June 20.

A shipping container is offloaded from a Chinese container ship at the Port of Oakland on June 20. U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war is less about trade partners and more about trade itself.



  • Rather than attempt to dismantle barriers to U.S. exports, the Trump administration is seeking to keep imports out of the United States.
  • European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker will strive to head off the possibility of new U.S. tariffs on vehicles and their parts by offering a trade deal when he visits the United States this week.
  • Because Germany has the most to lose in the current trade climate, Berlin will seek French support for a small trade deal that will solely focus on manufactured goods.
  • But with few prospects of a deal, the United States is only likely to pull back if Trump is subjected to domestic pressures, rather than as a result of Europe's offer.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hopes to do what no leader has managed to do so far: appease U.S. President Donald Trump with a trade deal. When he travels to Washington this week, Juncker will present Trump with an offer aimed at staving off a trade war between two of the world's largest economies. But the odds are not in his favor. Instead of making arrangements to break down trade barriers around the world, the Trump administration has worked to seal the United States off behind higher tariffs on goods such as aluminum, steel, washing machines and Chinese industrial products. And so long as the goal of this campaign is on shielding the domestic market – and not on opening up foreign markets – Juncker's efforts, and those of other world leaders, may be in vain....

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