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Opinion
Hal Brands

Trump Is Right on China But Wrong on Tariffs

Unlike previous presidents, he dispenses with the lie that economic growth will make Beijing a better global citizen.

National security threat?

National security threat?

Photographer:  Daniel Acker/Bloomberg 

The U.S. and China continue to head toward a possible trade war, as negotiations to bridge the gap between the two countries last week ended inconclusively. Donald Trump’s administration has demanded far-reaching Chinese concessions to reduce the bilateral trade deficit, address Beijing’s mercantilist trade practices, and open up key sectors of the Chinese economy to greater foreign competition.

The White House has underscored its demands by applying sanctions on steel, aluminum and a host of other imports and restrictions on Chinese investment. Beijing has responded in kind, imposing tariffs on an array of American goods from frozen pork to aluminum scrap and offering only minimal concessions.