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China’s $3 Billion Tariff Response Shows Xi Holding Back, for Now

  • Chinese leader must look strong without tanking economy
  • Further response likely to target Trump’s political base
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Stiglitz Says China Cannot Be Seen to Be Weak Amid Trade Tensions

After Donald Trump fired the first shots in what may be an extended trade war, Chinese President Xi Jinping made clear he’s going to wait before unleashing his country’s formidable arsenal in response.

China’s plans for reciprocal tariffs of $3 billion on products from pork to wine represent a tiny fraction of its U.S. imports. Crucially, the Commerce Ministry said those were in response to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, and said it has a plan to act further on the planned levies on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports that his administration announced Thursday.