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Another turning point in the trade war

Published 21 May 2024

Last week, the USTR completed a four-year review of Trump's tariffs on Chinese import and provided grounds for new ones on key sectors. Can the decision be justified? More countries are adopting economic security policies. How do their approaches differ? Plus, a new tool for tracking competition law applied to digital platforms, and China eases its data export curbs. Explore our reading list for more.

A new round of US tariff hikes

The US Trade Representative’s lengthy report evaluates Trump’s tariffs and justifies applications of new tariffs in key sectors.  Former Biden administration economist Brad Setser explains the actions in an interview with China Talk and CSIS experts react to the energy and trade implications of the tariffs. The Cato Institute argues that Biden has put politics over good policy. Dmitry Grozoubinski has questions about the move in Most Favoured Nation. Experts urge Xi Jinping to respond with caution, per the Financial Times.  WTO DG Ngozi discusses what the tariffs mean for world trade in an interview in Foreign Policy.

Mentioned publications

  1. Four-Year Review of Actions Taken in the Section 301 Investigation: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and InnovationOffice of the US Trade Representative, May 14, 2024
    USTR produces a lengthy report reviewing Trump’s Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports and justifying new tariffs on key sectors.

  2. Emergency Pod: Setser on Biden's Electric Curtain – Jordan Schneider and Lily Ottinger, China Talk Podcast, May 15, 2024
    An explanation of the Biden 301 tariffs, how and why they were imposed, and what they mean.

  3. Experts React: Energy and Trade Implications of Tariffs on Chinese Imports – Joseph Majkut, William Alan Reinsch, Scott Kennedy, Emily Benson, Gracelin Baskaran, Jane Nakano, and Quill Robinson, Center for Strategic and International Studies, May 14, 2024
    How will new Section 301 tariffs affect trade in the various sectors targeted for protection?

  4. New Biden Section 301 Tariffs (Once Again) Put Politics over Good Policy – Clark Packard, Cato Institute, May 14, 2024
    Are the new Biden tariffs solely politically motivated?

  5. US Green Tariffs - I Have Questions – Dmitry Grozoubinski, Most Favoured Nation, May 13, 2024
    Will tariffs alone solve problems the US faces?

  6. Xi Jinping urged to respond with caution to Joe Biden’s trade tariffsFinancial Times, May 17, 2024
    How will China respond to a new round of US tariff hikes?

  7. What Biden’s New China Tariffs Mean for World Trade – Ravi Agrawal, Foreign Policy, May 17, 2024
    WTO Director General Ngozi assesses the new tariffs and the continuing relevance of the WTO.

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The expansion of “economic security”

More countries are adopting economic security policies.  Experts from the Council on Foreign Relations examine the trade-offs related to economic security, and Chad Bown looks at economic security policies and options available to the EU for the Peterson Institute for International Economics. CEPS and Bruegel have jointly published a volume of articles about Europe’s economic security. CSIS considers the US approach to economic security, while China Talk focuses on Japan’s economic security approach. Australia introduced the Future Made in Australia Act focused on the energy transition and critical minerals, according to Corr, Chambers, Westgarth, and boosting scrutiny of high-risk foreign investment, per Nikkei Asia.

Mentioned publications

  1. In Economic Security, Trade-Offs Abound – Thomas J. Bollyky, Chloe Searchinger, Alice C. Hill, Zongyuan Zoe Liu, and Benn Steil, Council on Foreign Relations, May 8, 2024
    A four-part paper on the costs and benefits of using industrial policy to foster economic resilience.
  2. Trade policy, industrial policy, and the economic security of the European Union – Chad P. Bown, Peterson Institute for International Economics, January 2024
    What is economic security, why is it important, and how can economies improve economic security?
  3. Europe’s Economic Security – Jean Pisani-Ferry, Beatrice Weder di Mauro, and Jeromin Zettelmeyer, CEPS with Bruegel, May 2024.
    A policy brief on how the EU should ‘de-risk’ its external economic relationships without foregoing the benefits of trade.
  4. How do the United States and Its Trading Partners Approach Economic Security? – Emily Benson and Catharine Mouradian, Center for Strategic and International Studies, November 8, 2023.
    A Q&A covering how the US approaches economic security.
  5. Japan's Economic Security Renaissance – Jordan Schneider and Lily Ottinger, China Talk, April 10, 2024
    What is Japan doing to foster economic security?
  6. Future Made in Australia: Federal Budget commitments to energy transition and critical mineralsCorr, Chambers, Westgarth, May 16, 2024
    What can we expect from the Future Made in Australia Act?
  7. Australia to boost scrutiny of 'high-risk' foreign investmentNikkei Asia, May 1, 2024
    Australia is adopting new industrial policies to bolster its economic security.

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Digital trade, data, and digital platforms regulation

CSIS provides a new resource for tracking competition law and regulation as applied to digital platforms.  China is experimenting with free-trade areas that allow greater data exports, write Reuters.

Mentioned publications

  1. Competition Policy in the Digital Era – Evan Brown, Center for Strategic and International Studies, February 24, 2024
    A resource for tracking competition laws and policies applying to digital platforms around the world.
  2. Exclusive: Shanghai eases data-export curbs sought by Tesla, other firmsReuters, May 18, 2024
    China is launching pilot projects in free-trade areas allowing for greater data exports.

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