by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:
Nothing is going to be the same after this. On Friday, the United States hit China with 34 billion dollars in tariffs, and China immediately responded with similar tariffs. If it stopped there, this trade war between the United States and China would not be catastrophic for the global economy. But it isn’t going to stop there. Donald Trump is already talking about hitting China with an additional 500 billion dollars in tariffs, which would essentially cover pretty much everything that China exports to the U.S. in a typical year. The Chinese have accused Trump of starting “the biggest trade war in economic history”, and they are pledging to fight for as long as it takes. As I discussed yesterday, the only way that one side is going to “win” this trade war is if the other side completely backs down, and that simply is not going to happen. So there is going to be economic pain, and that pain is likely to intensify for as long as this trade war persists. U.S. businesses that will be affected by foreign tariffs are already cutting back production and laying off workers, and CNN is reporting that 1,300 products have suddenly become more expensive for U.S. consumers. There will be nowhere that anyone can hide from this trade war, and it will ultimately affect every single man, woman and child in the entire country.
Most Americans are not paying any attention to these ongoing developments, but the Chinese sure are.
Earlier today, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce called the U.S. tariffs “typical trade bullying”, and it warned that this trade war could trigger “global market turmoil”…
“This act is typical trade bullying,” the spokesperson said, before adding: “It seriously jeopardizes the global industrial chain … Hinders the pace of global economic recovery, triggers global market turmoil and will affect more innocent multinational companies, general companies and consumers.”
China’s primary English language newspaper was even more direct with their criticism…
The government-run English language China Daily newspaper said: “The Trump administration is behaving like a gang of hoodlums with its shakedown of other countries, particularly China.”
Here in the United States, the start of a major trade war with China really doesn’t seem like that big of a deal if you listen to the mainstream media. Most people just seem to think that things will continue to go well for our country no matter how many stupid decisions we make. It is almost as if a lot of Americans no longer understand that extremely reckless acts can have exceedingly severe consequences.
One man that understands what is happening is the founder of the largest hedge fund on the entire planet. On Friday, Ray Dalio posted the following ominous message on Twitter…
“Today is the first day of the war with China.”
Today is the first day of the war with China.
— Ray Dalio (@RayDalio) 6 July 2018
Please note that he did not say “the trade war with China”.
The truth is that trade wars can often lead to shooting wars, and we need to hope that cooler heads will prevail.
But for now, it looks like things will continue to escalate…
But Trump has said his administration will respond to retaliation from Beijing with much bigger waves of tariffs, raising the prospect of worsening tit-for-tat reprisals. On Thursday, he suggested the possibility of tariffs on almost $500 billion more of Chinese goods.
He described the potential escalation to reporters aboard Air Force One: “Thirty-four, and then you have another 16 in two weeks and then, as you know, we have 200 billion in abeyance and then after the 200 billion we have 300 billion in abeyance. OK?” Trump said. “So we have 50 plus 200 plus almost 300.”
If we hit China with 500 billion dollars in tariffs, there is no telling what the Chinese might do.
As I discussed the other day, the Chinese could start dumping our debt or cut off our access to rare earth elements.
Either move would be absolutely catastrophic for the United States.