How Trump’s Trade War Is Being Fought Around the World – Smart Media Magazine

How Trump’s Trade War Is Being Fought Around the World

President Trump on Thursday threatened to hit Mexico with new tariffs, escalating his immigration fight with America’s largest trading partner. And with that, he showed, once again, that he’s ready to employ trade as an all-purpose tool for his policy goals.

Mr. Trump is juggling multiple trade conflicts today, with allies and rivals alike. His demands, often first disclosed through Twitter, have caught trading partners off guard.

Just eight months ago, Mr. Trump’s negotiators struck a deal with Mexican and Canadian officials that they said would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. His new threat comes even before Congress has approved the deal, and signals to American partners that continuing disputes and threats are now the norm in global trade — at least as long as Mr. Trump is in office.

Of course, Mexico isn’t Mr. Trump’s only target. Far from it. In fact, what he’s taking on is broader than any particular country. He is challenging the post-World War II consensus that free trade enriches the world.

Here’s a look at the many fronts in Mr. Trump’s war on the world’s established trade relationships.

The Mexican conflict was supposed to be over.

But on Thursday, Mr. Trump reignited trade tensions by threatening to impose tariffs on Mexico beginning June 10 unless it stops the flow of undocumented immigrants across the border into the United States.

If he follows through on the threat, severe disruptions could be felt on both sides of the border. Thanks in part to the tariffs on China, Mexico is now the largest trading partner for the United States, accounting for more than $150 billion in trade in the first three months of this year, according to IHS Markit Global Trade Atlas, a data provider.

Trade has already been hindered because of shifts in how American personnel police the border, leading to longer waits. And just as he has with Japan, Mr. Trump has also threatened to put tariffs on imports of cars made in Mexico. A number of American and Japanese auto factories are based in Mexico, with supply chains that run deeply into the United States.

Mr. Trump’s threat calls into question the fate of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was hammered out late last year between the three countries. Already the United States has lifted tariffs on metal imports from both Mexico and Canada as a way to get the deal ratified. But Congress has signaled some skepticism, showing how Mr. Trump — whatever the fate of his various conflicts — has changed the tenor of the discussion on trade in the United States.

Last fall President Trump had appeared to reach a settlement over trade differences with Canada with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the revised Nafta. Among other things, the pact is supposed to make it easier to sell American dairy products in Canada. But Mr. Trump’s announcement on Thursday could derail his efforts to secure congressional approval of the pact.

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