Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Expert Voices

As trade gap with China widens, Trump's strategy is isolating the U.S.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (C) walks through a hotel lobby as he heads to the US embassy in Beijing on May 3, 2018.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin heading to the U.S. embassy in Beijing for trade talks on May 3, 2018. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration remains determined to double down on its China trade strategy by escalating tariffs from 10% to as much as 25% on consumer goods, electronics and automobiles by the end of the year. The strategy aims to further reduce America's $500 billion in annual imports from China.

The big picture: While this may cost China as many as 2 to 3 million jobs, it's not clear that it will reduce China’s overall exports. In fact, Trump’s trade war is exacerbating the trade deficit. Perhaps most troublingly for long-term U.S. economic growth, it's steering Asian countries — and their billions of consumers — toward non–U.S. trading partners.

The forever trade war

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty

Historians say President Trump is a symptom of the anti-establishment turn in global politics, not its cause. Therefore, the populism that has erupted across the U.S. and Europe will go on or die — independent of what happens to him.

But what about the global trade war, which seems to be wholly Trump-driven? Experts tell Axios that it only appears that way: Protectionism, they say, is now part of the populist zeitgeist — and will outlast Trump.

More stories loading.