China could ratchet up its trade war tactics against the United States as President Donald Trump has escalated the trade war between the two nations this week. Politico points out that China knows how to fight a trade war and could go beyond retaliatory tariffs next. China has been known to successfully encourage its 1.4 billion population to give up products from targeted countries, such as Big Macs, and make business harder for U.S. companies in China. While China has far fewer U.S. imports to impose tariffs on, a trade expert told Politico: “The reality is the Chinese can do quite a bit to hurt U.S. companies in the Chinese market.”
Tariffs that have yet to take effect will target U.S. agricultural products. Earlier this week, business and agriculture groups penned a letter to Congress seeking lawmakers involvement to reign in Trump’s trade agenda. The group asked for congressional oversight, while detailing how Congress has the power to regulate foreign trade.
North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp says if President Trump follows through with tariffs that China’s retaliation would be “both strong in quantity and gravity.” Heitkamp says Trump is “playing chicken” with China by “creating a trade war at farmers’ expense.” Heitkamp continued: “From soybeans to farm equipment to oil, these tariffs threaten to strike at the heart of our job-sustaining industries.”
The North Dakota Democrat says U.S. farmers need trade policy that opens markets, not closes them. Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa agreed in a separate statement, saying “farming need trade, not aid,” in referring to any programs that would be made available to assist farmers through a trade war.