Just after midnight tonight the Trump administration is set to impose tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, escalating a global trade war that has pitted the U.S. against trading partners around the world.
- "Businesses are bracing for disruptions in sales and supply chains," the Wall Street Journal reports (subscription), as a Chinese response could hit U.S. producers of "automotive products, farm crops and other goods."
- China warned that the U.S. is "opening fire on the entire world, including itself" while at the same time promising that it wouldn't use the 12-hour time difference to impose retaliatory tariffs first (per the Guardian).
What's next: Already, several U.S. sectors are freaking out — soybean farmers losing business in China, aluminum metal companies hit inadvertently by tariffs, and GM, worried about soaring supply costs. Manufacturers fear the tariff war will prematurely cut short a renaissance triggered by low natural gas prices and tax cuts, reports Ed Crooks at the FT.
- P.S. A freighter carrying U.S. soybeans is racing towards China to beat retaliatory tariffs, Bloomberg reports. If it arrives as scheduled at around 5 p.m. local time "it should be able to clear customs before the tariffs are imposed."
Be smart from Axios Future Editor Steve LeVine: Thus far, Trump has been pushing trading partners hard on the presumption that the U.S. holds the strongest hand and that the rest of the world will ultimately back down. Even if he ends up being right, the question is how long "ultimately" will be.
- Tech industry leaders expect the trade war to escalate rapidly, with Trump quickly following up tomorrow's tariffs on China with tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports, and Beijing following that in kind.