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Trump's gathering trade war bodes ill for all

By Stephen S. Roach | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-04 07:45

US president-elect Donald Trump has not moderated his anti-trade tone since winning the election. Instead, he has upped the ante and fired a series of early warning shots in what could turn into a full-blown global trade war, with disastrous consequences for the United States and the rest of the world.

Consider Trump's key personnel decisions. Industrialist Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary-designate, has been vocal in his desire to abrogate the US' "dumb" trade deals. Peter Navarro, an economics professor at the University of California-Irvine, will be the director of the National Trade Council - a new White House policy shop to be set up on a par with the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. Navarro is one of the US' most extreme China hawks. The titles of his two recent books, Death by China (2011) and Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (2015) - speak volumes about his tabloid-level biases.

Trump has made it clear that he will immediately withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - in keeping with Ross' criticism of the US' trade deals. And there seems little doubt that his administration will follow Navarro's prescription and take dead aim at China, the US' largest and most powerful trading partner.

Trump's gathering trade war bodes ill for all

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