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< Back to question What are the views on the US - China trade war? Show more Show less

Donald Trump's protectionist economic policies led to the introduction of tariffs on $550 billion worth of imports from China. President Xi Jinping responded with tariffs of his own, affecting some $185 billion worth of US-made products. As the two global economic behemoths enter a trade war, what are the implications for both economies and the rest of the world?

The trade war is bad for China Show more Show less

China increasing tariffs on U.S. imports such as food will produce a rise in price for Chinese consumers. Large tariffs of Chinese exports will reduce exports and manufacturing and cause damage to China’s economy. Together, these mean that the trade war will place China at a significant disadvantage.
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Rising prices damage consumers and the economy

An inevitable result of the trade war is increased tariffs on necessary consumer goods such as food. This makes these goods more expensive for consumers. Making life harder for its citizens is bad for China.
China Economics IR Trade
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The tariffs levied on China span a huge range of agricultural, industrial, energy, and technology fields. Their impact on the Chinese economy will be large.

The Argument

The China and U.S. trade war creates an inevitable rise in tariffs placed upon imports from both countries. The U.S. places a tariff on Chinese goods, and China responds with a tariff on U.S. goods, to which the U.S. must respond and relaunch the cycle anew. The result is a vicious cycle of continually increasing prices for Chinese and American consumers and businesses alike. This is particularly bad for China given that some of the imports that have rising prices are food. China faces rising prices for food such as fruit, vegetables, meat (especially pork), and grains; in April of 2019 the price of pork was up 14% and broader food prices were up 6.1% compared with the year before. [1]The rising prices can impact consumer spending which could cause an even bigger problem for China’s economy. In the event of an escalating and unchecked trade war, economic realities for consumers might be put on the backburner while China is forced to pursue a political show of strength.

Counter arguments

The counter-tariffs that China levies will be calculated to be as harmless to the Chinese economy as possible. Furthermore, China is a net exporter rather than importer to the United States, so it will not be as impacted by consumer prices increasing as the U.S. will be. Even in the worst-case scenario, China can branch out to sources for imported goods.


[P1] A trade war necessitates a continually expanding range of tariffs from both sides. [P2] China will be forced to raise tariffs on things that will make life for Chinese consumers and businesses more expensive. [P3] More expensive imported goods hurt the quality of life which is bad for China. [P4] Therefore, the trade war will be bad for China.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] China can raise tariffs surgically, avoiding the most crucial arteries of the Chinese import economy.




This page was last edited on Friday, 19 Jun 2020 at 01:30 UTC


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