Jul 5, 2018

Trade-war's eve

President Trump and son Don Jr. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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.

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.

Go deeper

Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post at the end of the month, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health