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The decision marked the president’s boldest step so far to implement his “America First” strategy, which he promises will shrink the $811bn merchandise trade deficit and return lost manufacturing jobs to the United States.
But Trump’s aggressive approach is rattling American corporate leaders and his Republican allies in Congress, as Chinese officials show no sign of capitulating.
It took little more than an hour for the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing to fire back at the president with a late-night statement pledging to erect trade barriers of the “same scale and the same strength.” China is targeting agricultural goods, cars and energy in a bid to hit the president’s supporters in farm states and the industrial Midwest.
Though the president had telegraphed his tariff plans in March, the formal White House announcement amounted to a sharp break with a generation of economic integration backed by Republicans and Democrats.
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