back to article $200bn? Make that $467bn: Trump threatens to balloon proposed bonus China tech tariffs

US President Donald Trump is threatening to tack import duties on $267bn of imported Chinese tech gear and other goods – on top of the $200bn already planned. The President told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday that he may expand his proposed tariffs as part of his ongoing trade war with China in which the two nations …

  1. Ron 10

    One problem is that a huge number of US citizens do not understand that THEY (and US manufacturing, etc.) are the ones paying the tariffs. The same group that kept screaming for killing Obama care; and never realized that that was essentially Medicare. Nor do they understand the concept of an insurance pool. I don't have days to list everything.

    1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

      Trump's new tariff can only work as he thinks it will if there's another, partly idle source of similar items, with the spare capacity to seamlessly take over from Chinese suppliers and is one that is guaranteed not to be nuked by a sudden extension of the Tariff.

      Does such a source exist?

      If not, then, as others have said, this new Tariff is just a tax on American consumers[1]. The importers don't give a toss because they'll just pass the Tariff cost on to the next guy along with the imported items.

      [1] I really hate the term 'consumer'. Have we all really no other use than to mindlessly gobble up everything the producers, advertisers and vendors of 'stuff' want us to?

      1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

        RE: "I really hate the term 'consumer'"

        I'm not fond of the term either, but what I really hate in modern economics is the concept of constant growth, where if you hit a plateau of constant use, but no longer grow, then confidence in your company falls as does your stock price and other abstract concepts only visible on bits of paper and numbers in digital bank accounts. What's wrong in finding a nice comfy niche and just maintaining it where it is?

        1. Warm Braw Silver badge

          What's wrong in finding a nice comfy niche

          In theory, it's exactly what you want - sustainable businesses generating steady income. However, income is taxed differently to capital growth, so it's exactly the opposite of the incentives.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            "screaming for killing Obamacare"

            Its worse than that, there was a lot of polling that showed much higher unfavorability for Obamacare compared to the ACA. The drooling idiots who like one but not the other don't even realize they are the same, they've just been brainwashed by Fox News to hate Obamacare, or reflexively hate anything "Obama".

            If Trump's tax cuts had been tagged with Obama's name there are probably enough similar drooling morons in the house's "freedom caucus" that it would have been voted down by accident.

            1. Sir Loin Of Beef

              Re: "screaming for killing Obamacare"

              Uh, Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act (the ACA) are the same thing.

          2. Mark 85 Silver badge

            In theory, it's exactly what you want - sustainable businesses generating steady income.

            True, but the stock market insists on rising share prices for a "return on their investment ". Look at the number of companies that have sucked up and destroyed by the vultures (Icahn for one) and many were just cruising along with steady income, minimal growth as the market was pretty saturated.

            1. Sir Loin Of Beef

              Exactly. The market wants bigger, bigger, bigger, and when it crashes it's someone else you pays the cost.

            2. JohnFen Silver badge

              "the stock market insists on rising share prices for a "return on their investment ""

              Yes. The stock market is a cancer on society.

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          I think, from what I've been reading, constant growth is not a demand of modern economics ( which hasn't really changed that much) but of modern commerce . i.e. bean counters who value companies on an index of growth rather than earnings.

          1. unbearable

            Terry6, you betcha

            Thanks for pointing out the difference between economics and commerce. There are plenty of people that think that because they took economics 102 and they are good at commerce that they must be experts at economics. So they are only looking at the bottom line of the last quarter. Like Agent Orange.

            It's a dog and pony show for investors (each other), not for customers.

          2. Milton Silver badge

            "bean counters who value ... index of growth"

            "I think, from what I've been reading, constant growth is not a demand of modern economics ( which hasn't really changed that much) but of modern commerce . i.e. bean counters who value companies on an index of growth rather than earnings."

            Broadly correct. I've written elsewhere about the appalling damage done by allowing bean-counters to have management responsibilties, but in truth, in this case, they are merely a symptom of a much larger problem wherein everyone focuses on what can be crudely measured instead of looking at more subtle, nuanced indicators of "goodness".

            A brief story. Late 90s, IT boom, Yrs Truly is "Director, CRM and EAI" (actually one step below Board level) for a youngish consultancy in the City of <100 pretty good, skilled developers, architects, technologists etc. (Job title sounds bigger than the responsibilities.) Lots of recent senior recruiting, two utter first-rate Mongs have found their way into the Board, for Marketing and Finance. Founders consideirng IPO, got starry-eyed at recruiting "credible, heavyweight, highly-paid individuals" and fell prey to propaganda instead of shrewd assessment of past performance.

            A certain level of IPO greed is kicking in so lots of poeple can become rich overnight. Many fancily printed potentially lucrative share entitlements are printed and distributed. But the problems (not least, inevitable bubble bursting) are in sight, for those with the wit to see it.

            The City, it appears, will magic a successful IPO if quarterly revenue and profits steadily increase. There can be only a steady rise. Nothing else is tolerable. Abruptly, management types like me are being pressed to put in lots of billable hours. Abruptly, further hires are stalled. Abruptly, investment in training, research, in-house dev and anything else of long-term value is stopped. Personally I cannot properly manage, motivate and look after a young and eager team if I am also putting in too many billable hours—so my team's morale, coherence and performance—their belief—immediately starts to suffer. To Board I submit presentations predicting how and why this will hurt us badly in the months to come, as project quality degrades, deadines are missed, mistakes made, people leave. I actually show one slide showing the collapse in revenues for the next quarter. (Later turns out to be bang on, sadly.) Barely any reaction. No one cares. Maybe no one believes it. The only goal is "More revenue, by any means, and cut costs to keep profits 'growing'".

            A few months later many staff (the better ones, of course) are leaving almost daily. Contributory factors include widespread incredulity about Marketing Idiot's mouth and foot problem, and the Finance Fool picking ill-informed fights with clients, who then decline to pay (and I didn't blame them). One of Finance Fool's favourite sayings, always glibly thrown out there, about staff who might not be billing maximum hours next month: "Can 'em. Just can 'em." (None of the people he wishes to "can" have less than a 30-point IQ advantage on him.) But the worst damage is done by the abrupt short term obsession with quarterly figures, which damages absolutely everything in the operation, including the morale of what used to be good, future-oriented teams of expert young developers.

            Older, wiser, collecting my embarrasingly fat redundancy payment many months later, I pointed out neutrally that this was all entirely predictable. The answer: "Why didn't you say so?"

            No IPO. Company blown away like a tumbleweed nearly 20 years ago. It could have survived well, grown slowly and spasmodically, learned along the way, probably eventually sold out handsomely to one of the BigX consultancies ... where, admittedly, it would have been infected by their own brand of greed and incompetence, but the founders would have got their payoff.

            Instead, shortsighted greed and a moronically counterproductive obsession with just a couple of numbers, completely destroyed it.

            1. jmch Silver badge

              Re: "bean counters who value ... index of growth"

              "a symptom of a much larger problem wherein everyone focuses on what can be crudely measured instead of looking at more subtle, nuanced indicators of "goodness". "

              Related issue - using GDP growth as a measure of a country's advancement even though

              (a) GDP whether absolute or per capita doesn't take into account that all or most of the increase could be going into the pockets of a select few while the plebs are stuck in a status quo and

              (b) some factors correlating with higher GDP can include more traffic, longer commutes, more expensive housing, more polluted air and water, overcrowding, more pressure on infrastructure and other common resources etc etc. In other words, quality of life can be tanking and the bureaucracy doesn't care because Yay! GDP growth!

              Whatever is being measured is what will get optimised for (see also chip speed benchmarking, diesel emissions measurements... )

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What's wrong in finding a nice comfy niche and just maintaining it where it is?

          - nothing. There are plenty businesses which don't need continuous growth. At the small end of the scale there are self-employed people who would rather be in control of their own time and not answerable to anyone. At the large end, some investors prefer stocks with a reliable dividend yield over growth. Underlying it all, however, is a long-term trend of increasing wealth and life expectancy across the world, so economic growth is normal. The progress that has been made is under-reported and quite staggering... if you Google the late, great Hans Rosling and watch some of his presentations you'll see what I mean.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Mushroom

      'understand' does NOT mean 'agree with socialists'

      "a huge number of US citizens do not understand that"

      a) socialism ultimately fails because it runs out of "other people's money"

      b) high tax rates on "the rich" are actually on those trying to BECOME the rich [thus they keep middle class in their place, and lower class on the dole]

      c) one-sided trade deals ultimately favor your competitors, especially if they engage in predatory economic practices such _AS_ government subsidized 'competitive' pricing and deliberate "dumping" to drive domestic industries out of business

      d) Oba[k,m]acare is a COMPLETE fiasco, because it DOUBLED insurance costs and empowered government to "make choices for you", is anti-freedom, etc.

      e) China is attempting to force U.S. businesses OUT of business so that it won't have any competition, and THIS is why they're behaving "that way". If they were so great, how come they pay their workers CRAP wages in order to corner the world market on everything? It's because they [their neo-communist government, anyway] think they CAN.

      And I think the American people very MUCH understand the concept of an insurance pool. Many of us, however, don't want to participate in something that costs THAT MUCH, but has no real benefit. Example, you only care about emergency hospitalization, but are forced to pay for HMO-like coverage, except it has a deductible that is SO high, you never exceed that amount in a year. So what's the point of paying for "all of that" when you could get "just emergency care" coverage for WAY LESS??? And that's why Oba[k,m]a-"care" *FAILS*.

      Or like me, say "F-that" to insurance, and just buy what you need, because THAT is what _I_ want to do. It's _MY_ life, not anyone else's, and the rest of the universe can PACK SAND if they *FEEL* I should do differently. They're not ME. _I_ run _MY_ life. *FREEDOM*

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "socialism ultimately fails because it runs out of "other people's money"

        Yes, but when only a few people are able to hoard most money leaving little to others, suddenly some kind of "socialism" becomes appealing to the large number of people left with too little to live well enough, especially when they can't pay for basic needs like healthcare or education.

        Sure, socialism usually doesn't solve those problems because it again creates an elite which hoards the money and leave little to others as well, so it will ultimately fail.

        There's a third way, of course, but it anyway requires powerful, rich people to be less greedy, and understand some wealth has to be shared to create a functioning society. They can choose to share it through labour and wages, or through taxes, or a mix of them - usually, the best solution to avoid "socialism".

        1. southen bastard

          Re: "socialism ultimately fails because it runs out of "other people's money"

          There's a third way, of course, but it anyway requires powerful, rich people to be less greedy, and understand some wealth has to be shared to create a functioning society.

          YEH!! good luck with that.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: "socialism ultimately fails because it runs out of "other people's money"

            Americans ( and many others) have been taught that Socialism = Communism.

            It does not. This may, according to the definition used, be a matter of degree. But they are not the same. And of course some extreme political parties - of extreme left and extreme right- have adopted the word, on the basis that it implies something much more moderate and friendly than they really stand for. But it doesn't make them socialist and it doesn't make socialism what any of them stand for.

            Communism is, in simple terms, the central ownership of everything on behalf of the people.

            Socialism is the direction of resources so that incomes are spread equitably among the people.Which could mean communism. Marxist thinkers would define Socialism as a step on the path to Communism. As would the conservative right; though with much less appetite.And both Communists on the left and radical free-marketeers on the right would both have you think it is the same. Both have a vested interest in diverting society away from any system that manages the economy to be more equitable.

            In a sense the extreme right and extreme left have a convergence of views. Because neither can bare the thought of a fair and equitable society. (And arguably the top echelon of both are just the same as each other anyway. See Orwell's Animal farm).

            1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: "socialism ultimately fails because it runs out of "other people's money"

              Well said, Terry 6. A nice description of the distinctions between political philosophies, but please, allow me to simplify it for some of the more hard of thinking types we have screaming about their freedumbs…

              Dear Trump Voter:

              Capitalism = Put the money first, above and beyond everything else, including people, collectively known as society.

              Socialism = Put society, the people, first, above and beyond everything else, including the creation of wealth, known as capital.

              Money, sat in a bank, holds no power in and of itself. Only when money is used to benefit society, does its true power become manifest.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "socialism ultimately fails because it runs out of "other people's money"

                If you are going to lecture people you should get your facts straight first. Capitalism and socialism is about ownership of the means for production.

                Also, companies are amoral (not immoral) which means they have to follow the law irrespective of the moral standards and personalities of the board of directors. It is therefore the law that is engineered to put the people in the right order of priorities.

                It is this that makes it possible to even have state capitalism.

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: "socialism ultimately fails because it runs out of "other people's money"

          Sure, socialism usually doesn't solve those problems because it again creates an elite which hoards the money and leave little to others as well, so it will ultimately fail.

          Thank you for confusing socialism with yet another corrupt oligarchy.

          The fault lies not in the system, but in the flawed implementation.

          Same with everything, the selfish and self-important do their utmost to game a system for the benefit of them and their little clique.

      2. ecofeco Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: 'understand' does NOT mean 'agree with socialists'

        BB, everything you said was wrong.

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: 'understand' does NOT mean 'agree with socialists'

        @Bombastic Bob: do you ever get bored of being so wrong? You type endless drivel, so it's not a one-line troll and watch the fireworks. I mean Jesus, go and get a hobby. Well, a different hobby.

      4. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: 'understand' does NOT mean 'agree with socialists'

        e) China is attempting to force U.S. businesses OUT of business so that it won't have any competition,

        Many niche manufacturers are getting hurt and going out of business particularly in the hobby field. China looks the other way on piracy of products. The big guys shake it off, the little ones go under. Once the little ones go under, there's no competition or innovation level outside of China. Sadly, the US government won't pay attention until the big corporations get hurt and start collapsing or get sucked up by the Chinese and their campaign contributions start dropping (both parties BTW not just your target of choice). The rot and problem starts at the bottom, never at the top.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: 'understand' does NOT mean 'agree with socialists'

          "Sadly, the US government won't pay attention until the big corporations get hurt"

          Yes. The US government stop giving a shit about small businesses quite a while ago. If you want a laugh (and evidence), just take a look at how big a business can be to count as a "small business".

      5. jmch Silver badge

        Re: 'understand' does NOT mean 'agree with socialists'

        "high tax rates on "the rich" are actually on those trying to BECOME the rich [thus they keep middle class in their place, and lower class on the dole]"

        Wow, one thing I actually agree with you on!

        The problem is with taxing 'earned' income different (and higher) from capital gains and dividend income. The wealthy middle class (doctors, lawyers, top tech talent etc) are the ones paying the highest %age of tax, while the true rich make most of their income not from a job or profession but from assets they own, which are taxed less than earned income or (through various loopholes) not at all.

        The solution is for all income to be considered as income and taxed in the same way, whether it's capital gains, dividends, income from employment or anything else. Then you could reduce tax rates without bankrupting teh country, a Trump's recent tax cuts are going to do

      6. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: 'understand' does NOT mean 'agree with socialists'

        "socialism ultimately fails because it runs out of "other people's money"

        ROTFL.

        US debt is $21.3 trillion. $1.8 trillion is owned by China.

      7. Sir Loin Of Beef

        Re: 'understand' does NOT mean 'agree with socialists'

        Your first comment clearly shows you have no understanding of socialism so we can disregard everything else you said.

    3. robidy

      It's a back door tax on profitable tech companies like Apple and Amazon.

      It's actually quite clever....must be a side effect of a Trump policy.

      Tech manufacturing is already starting to move away from China so it's a double win for Trump...though can't see it moving on shore...more likely to SE Asia and then Africa.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @robidy

        And therein lies the problem with globalization. The promise of globalization was that it would increase competition and lower prices on many products and it has definitely lower prices on many products. The problem comes from Corporations abandoning local production to take advantage of extremely low labour costs with little or no health care cost or other benefits often setting up shop, maybe even preferring despotic regimes as they'll be less resistance to bad employment policy. Once a country gives up the means of production of important or even vital equipment it has decided to cede its sovereignty. In a complex economy there is a place for some governmental control over the price of manufactured products and even what is manufactured. For instance, there should be manufacturing capability in NA and or Europe for networking equipment, computers, etc... and although perhaps there'll be a dominant architecture Government should always be pushing R&D in case there turns out to a significant issue with that architecture. I suspect that you all know of what I speak. The above is true of any product of any real value to a society.

        1. Giovani Tapini

          Nice reply, although I would add...

          It is highly unlikely either at a local or global level that trade will be broadly equal at any given point in time.

          There will be underlying reasons that the USA consumes more from China than it exports. You are should find, at least in principle, to find that the USA exports somewhere else that balances it, and that country has a trade surplus with China. This may not be the reality but it makes the point.

          Is the USA simply over-consuming regardless of where stuff comes from? Is it ready and capable to take advantage if the tables turn? I am not convinced of this either.

          As an aside economics doesn't necessarily do a good job when looking at non-manufactured resources e.g. Timber, meat, fruit etc that takes TIME to produce. There are natural timescales for trees to grow and fruit to ripen etc. Expecting relatively volatile global markets to deal with farmed produce leads to massive swings in prices, demand, and availability. In the long term it also seems to reduce capacity as farmers cannot cope with the price/demand volatility. You can't just plant another orchard for next year even if you know there will be demand. This is however going off topic...

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Tech manufacturing is already starting to move away from China so it's a double win for Trump...though can't see it moving on shore...more likely to SE Asia and then Africa.""

        An unintended consequence of Trumps Trade War might be to accelerate the growth of other 3rd world nations trade and technology. China is already off-shoring, out sourcing and investing in other countries because wages in China are rising. If The US puts punitive tariffs onto imports from China, the most obvious way for China to side-step the tariffs is to build and export from other countries.

        It could well end up being painful for the US, at least initially, but might actually be better for the world as a whole with a bit of wealth being spread more widely. (well, I can dream, can't I?)

    4. RobertLongshaft

      You see that's where you're kiddo. Very wrong.

      I don't expect you to understand, if you think Obamacare was positive you literally have no idea what you are talking about.

    5. P. Lee Silver badge

      >One problem is that a huge number of US citizens do not understand that THEY (and US manufacturing, etc.) are the ones paying the tariffs.

      "THEY" are the only ones who pay tax in any scenario.

      As someone said, "The government doesn't have money of its own, it only has your money."

      The real question is, "Who is affected and how?"

      My personal thought is that being large enough to become a multinational should not allow you to gain either short or long-term tax benefits relative to domestic companies.

    6. John Carter

      Obamacare === Medicare? Not!!

      Being told that we have to buy something is anathema.

      O'Care was famously shoved down our throats without review: "you have to pass it to read it" (Pelosi). It was and is a terrible law that should be repealed and replaced.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Obamacare === Medicare? Not!!

        As I understand this, explained to me by a cousin who is American and a lawyer with skills in this area, Obamacare is indeed a pretty awful scheme - just far better than not having some kind of affordable care scheme.

      2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Obamacare === Medicare? Not!!

        "Being told that we have to buy something is anathema"

        You ever heard of taxation?

        You pay an amount of taxes, decided upon by someone else, democratically elected. Some of those taxes go into a defence budget that is then used to maintain a military to keep all Americans safe from things that might harm them.

        Try replacing the words "Defence" and "Military" with the words "Healthcare" and "Medical service".

        Or do you think that being forced to pay for a military that may never defend you is a similar waste of your money? After all, some of that defence may be used to defend people who can't afford to defend themselves, and you're clearly being forced to pay for that. Perhaps the defence budget should be scrapped and every American should decide what level of defence they want for themselves, then source it and finance it independently, and if someone can't afford it then that's their problem. You'll only defend yourself if and when someone attacks your country, right?

        Perhaps education should be the same? Or civil infrastructure?

        Your argument doesn't hold water.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think he needs to slap tarriffs on every job that is offshored, so it is cheaper to employ someone locally, than from India (etc).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Far too sensible, and has no direct benefit for trump or his cronies. None of this lot actually care about the average US citizen. They just want to appear to care, and blaming others usually does the trick.

      China, India etc. benefit from cheap labour. This is a playing field that nobody is attempting to level. Funny that, isn't it?

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Well actually AC there are plenty in the UK and USA etc. trying to level that playing field. The ones who want to abolish minimum wage, job security and health and safety rules. Those who encourage zero hours contracts and welfare "reforms" that push people to destitution if they don't accept poverty-level pay.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          @Terry 6

          Exactly. The "level playing field" in their eyes is flat, at the bottom of a very deep hole. Minimizes cost and increases profits.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      How exactly could you do this?

      If you put a tariff on every overseas employee of a US based company, they'll simply create a subsidiary to employ them. If they try to get around that by tariffing employees of wholly owned subsidiaries they'll outsource them to an independent third party.

      Some that employed more people overseas than in the US might just feel it is easier to pull up stakes and move their HQ elsewhere. You think Trump rages against Twitter and Facebook now, imagine if they re-domiciled in our greatest enemy, Canada?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The difference between you and Trump is you're in the pub havin a nice pint with mates fixing the world...where as Trump's got his hand on the f**kin wheel.

    4. whitepines Bronze badge

      I've been saying this for ages. Otherwise it goes from "US/EU research, US/EU design, Asia made, US/EU/Asian consumer" to "Asian research, Asian design, Asian manufacture, Asian consumer". Maybe with some limited access to stuff China is OK with the US still having, at a suitable delay from their own cutting edge stuff of course to make sure the West never catches back up.

      Anyone remember the period in history where Germany held all the "IP"/"know-how" (I hate that latter term!). How did that work out for England, anyway?

  3. JJKing Bronze badge
    WTF?

    And the pollies let it happen.

    Just when the American economy was recovered after their self inflicted 2008 crises, the Orange Idiot and his economic advisers who, from my reading, also don't understand economics, are destroying what was being built up. But he, the words of Golden Boy were, "Trade wars are easy to win". He's not even going to learn that you can't just under pay a contractor or materials supplier like he does when he was giving the appearance of building, err buildings.

    With all these tariffs being imposed, you really will see Reagan's "trickle down" economics in action.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: And the pollies let it happen.

      You would have thought that being made Bankwupt how many times is it? Five? well, a good few that he'd have learnt at least the basics of economics...

      He really needs to learn that the USA can't win a trade war with the rest of the world. The ROW economy is far bigger than that of the USA.

      Perhaps he should go on TV and smoke some dope and say to his critics... Cool it Man! (only joking)

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: And the pollies let it happen.

        Unfortunately he knew what he was doing with those bank-whoopsies, and didn't lose a penny. He risked other peoples money in his scheming shenanigans, and made sure he'd fully consumed a large slice of the pie before the waiter took the dish away.

        Seems the tactic of playing footloose with other peoples livelihoods is his mo.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          In his mind they are easy to win

          In his mind he's had the greatest first year and a half of any president. If he can believe that he can believe anything. No matter what happens, he'll claim he "won" on his tariffs, and any negative impacts that are pointed out will be declared either "fake news" or somehow be Obama's fault.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: And the pollies let it happen.

          This. It's called being a con man.

      2. MR J

        Re: And the pollies let it happen.

        Some Americans view bankruptcy as a form of economic gain.

        I have known people who go bankrupt every 8 or so years. The key thing is to work your finances and finical security in such a way that you don't need to live off of credit. The American system fails because it allows people who are older with good pay to build up credit really fast even if it is clear that they were previously bankrupt.

        Trump is one of these such people. His team has gone one step above however. They would push out payments to those (small non-Chinese) suppliers/builders who they owe money to in such a slow drip feed and tie up what was owed with legal paperwork. Those suppliers would go bankrupt, and then that debt would never be chased again.

        What is also highly laughable is that the losses that allow trump to not pay tax was likely all based off of foreign loans to build US buildings. So he pays no tax in the US due to defaulting on Foreign loans.

        Protectionism is bad, he is not the first person to try this hard for it. Some people benefit, those being protected, but everyone else has to pay the cost. Yes you can save jobs mining coal - at the expense of the solar industry. Yes you can bring back car manufacturing jobs - at the expense of car company profit, final product cost, and a larger risk to the finance sector. Protectionism is bad, but if it helps you then you like it.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: And the pollies let it happen.

          "Some Americans view bankruptcy as a form of economic gain."

          Indeed, and those people are called "thieves".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And the pollies let it happen.

            Keep in mind that Bannon's plan is to destabilize the world economy. How better than to ruin the value of the American dollar and all the while damaging Canada's, the EU's, China's and India's economies?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Those White Coat operatives in the White House ...

    ... need to tighten the strings on their Patient's straightjacket.

  5. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Ah, such wisdom . . .

    Does he not know that as soon as the ban on China was announced, US 'Patriots' flocked to Chinese wholesalers to buy up flags?

    The makers raked in a small fortune they said 'we make other flags' - keeping quiet about exports to places NOT on the banned list.

    As the US tech industry kaaks itself and shakes it's head in the sheer disbelief of a 'supreme businessman' who can't even plastic-coat a turd.

  6. Rol Silver badge

    My advice

    Is to hold off buying any white goods, tech stuff or anything else Trump decides to bring his axe down on.

    Those goods that don't make it into an American store, will just as easily find their way into a British retail outlet, but now at a nice discount. Supply and demand!

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: My advice

      I'm not sure that would work. The EU's also got involved in this trade war and slapped (from memory) 25% duty on US telecomms gear.

      Tech companies are also weighing in, with HPE, Cisco, Dell, and Juniper penning a letter to US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer asking him to hold off on imposing additional tariffs on networking gear, arguing the penalties would only serve to hurt their business in the US.

      And a lot of this kit wouldn't be in UK retail stores.. So how it would affect say, Dell, who I think sell much of their kit to consumers online via Ireland. So presumably if PCs or components are shipped from China to the EU by Dell Europe, they'd avoid EU-US tariffs unless they're being applied at the parent level. Same with Cisco and Juniper given they've got big European sales and distribution operations.

      EU action may support EU competitors like Alcatel/Nokia/Siemens/Ericsson or whoever they're called this year, and also Huawei. But if the trade wars intensify and China puts export tariffs on tech components, it'll cause a lot of pain. Problem is US (and other nations) tech companies have become very reliant on China to source components and assemble product. Some of that may be easier to relocate than others, especially given the way China's also been swallowing up raw material supply chains.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My advice

      Aren't US 'White goods' made to run on 110v AC?

      How do you sell 110v items into places like... the UK post Brexit where we use 230v AC (until Putin turns off the Gas coz we can't pay his gas bill that is.)?

      Please tell us how because I'm sure that there are a few qualified 'Sparkies' here who would love to tell you what is exactly wrong with your post.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think Trump is playing a very clever long term game and we’re all too stupid to understand it. Or he’s playing a very stupid short term game and we’re all too clever to believe anyone would do this. I can’t decide which.

    (Cf. Brexit.)

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Trump comes from a business where blackmailing people usually works. He's trying to apply it to international relations. It could work sometimes, but there's a risk that when it fails and backfires, the damages could be very high.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        "Trump comes from a business where blackmailing people usually works"

        I think that Trump's MO is more extortion than blackmail.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The cost of theft

    >Manufacturers, and ultimately US citizens, will pay the price

    That is a massive assumption for which there is no basis. Chinese companies are famous for outright piracy and the tech transfer is also sanctioned by Chinese government, something Trump has protested but EU is hesitating about, most likely since they do not want to be seen to support Trump.

    As tech is transferred out, by hook or by crook, US companies become less competitive and have less incentives to innovate and bring new products to the market. Therefore ultimately US citizens will also lose their jobs unless this practice is not stopped.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: The cost of theft

      Thanks, AC, for a fresh voice of sanity amongst the obvious Trump-hate. Facts are SO much better than feelings and Trump-hate-media-driven perceptions!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The cost of theft

        >Facts are SO much better than feelings and Trump-hate-media-driven perceptions!

        I know. Trouble is, emotions tend to overrule facts, so you got 13 downvotes and I got 9. Techies tend to go more for logos than pathos but this forum is a strange exception. It is also hard to know if the downvotes are ticking in due to disagreements or if it is because people feel it is a horrid topic. For it is horrid:

        https://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/business/arm-failing-2018-08/

        >Arm’s Q2 EBIT fell 99% y-o-y from £82 million in Q2 2017 to £1 million in Q2 2018. [...] “Licensing can fluctuate from quarter to quarter,” says Arm, “lower revenues are primarily due to contract delays as Arm China was established.”

        Arm China now is owned 51% by Chinese investors. Arm says this sale resulted in a ‘net gain’ to Arm owners Softbank of $1.1 billion. Arm China accounts for 20% of Arm’s revenues.

        With the tech transfer requirements demanded by Chinese government nobody should be surprised companies are flocking to RISC-V. At this rate nobody will know how long ARM will be around.

        A lot more people are bound to lose their jobs.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: The cost of theft

      "That is a massive assumption for which there is no basis. Chinese companies are famous for outright piracy and the tech transfer is also sanctioned by Chinese government, something Trump has protested but EU is hesitating about, most likely since they do not want to be seen to support Trump."

      China steals everything that isn't nailed down. This is true. How do you stop them? Not by going full retard and attempting to raise tariffs unilaterally. You build a consensus and present a united front. The EU chafes at Chinese exo-scale theft as well, but Trump had to be a massive dicktwat about everything, and got everyone's backs up. You'd think someone who wrote a book about dealmaking was at least mildly good at it, but you know, Trump is too stupid/corrupt to get it.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: The cost of theft

        The Chinese probably have noticed that the West got its wealth through similar and worse tactics. We stole people as slaves for a start. And we stole land that we worked with slave labour. And we stole the produce of the land and the minerals below it. We even fought wars so that we could make them let our drugs in for sale. Noticeably against China itself

        From Wikipaedia

        The Opium Wars were two wars in the mid-19th century involving China and the British Empire over the British trade of opium and China's sovereignty. The clashes included the First Opium War (1839–1842) and the Second Opium War (1856–1860). The wars and events between them weakened the Qing dynasty and forced China to trade with the other parts of the world.[1][2] The victorious British were successful in inducing an opioid crisis in China, which seriously undermined Chinese society[citation needed].

        ...In 1820, China's economy was the largest in the world, according to British economist Angus Maddison.[3] Within a decade after the end of the Second Opium War, China's share of global GDP had fallen by half.[4] .......e. China was the largest economy in the world for many centuries until the Opium Wars.[3] In China, the period between 1839 and 1949 is referred to as the Century of Humiliation.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The cost of theft

        >You build a consensus and present a united front.

        The important thing with China is that it is not a democracy and can afford not to care about niceties such as united fronts. That is why Tibet is in its present situation.

        China can even afford to kill off plenty of their own citizens. Many of my Chinese friends lost friends at Tienanmen Square. This is now nearly 30 years ago and China can afford not to care and even continue not to care about this either. It is clear then that talk alone matters as much to China as Chamberlain mattered to Germany: not one bit.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: The cost of theft

          ">You build a consensus and present a united front.

          The important thing with China is that it is not a democracy and can afford not to care about niceties such as united fronts. That is why Tibet is in its present situation."

          As the rest of my comment clearly implied, the consensus you build is international. Then it's World vs China in a trade war, rather than Trump vs World, which it is now.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The cost of theft

            >As the rest of my comment clearly implied, the consensus you build is international.

            That is quite impossible given the trade and finance deals made by China. I do not like their policies but I do not consider them stupid. And the Chinese government have been very skilled in their deals. So now many countries, such as in Africa, depend on Chinese credit, which comes with nice benefits such as no questions asked and no nagging about outlandish things such as democracy. Look up their belt and road policy and you can see the full scope of their alliances.

            So the international consensus you suggest is utterly unfeasible.

        2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: The cost of theft

          Then there is the little matter of how much US Debt that is owned by the Chinese.

          Old Turnip Head needs to watch out or Bejing will call in that debt and basically foreclose a good proportion of the USA economy.

          Trump seems to not understand how much the US is in Debt. He's only caring about imports and doing sod all about exports. But what does the US Export (that is made in the USA) that any of us wants to buy?

          I can't think of much TBH.

          Jolly Green Giant Corn perhaps?

          Oh wait, could it be GMO'd? I'll pass thanks.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: The cost of theft

            "But what does the US Export (that is made in the USA) that any of us wants to buy?"

            The US has, for at least a couple of decades, been producing (and exporting) more than ever before in its history. What's changed is what, exactly, we produce. We no longer make many consumer items like toasters, cell phones, etc. But we make a lot of really big-ticket items like supercomputers, heavy machinery, etc. That stuff is what other nations want to buy from us.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: The cost of theft

              But how much of that stuff is assembled from imported bits. Bits which may become more expensive with high tariffs?

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: The cost of theft

                Pretty much all of it. But there is no escape -- the Trump Tax being imposed covers not only the required components, but also raw materials, so even manufacturing all of the components in the US (something that would take years and billions to ramp up to being able to do) won't actually bring much relief from it.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The cost of theft

        "China steals everything that isn't nailed down."

        And the US does the same. So what was the point again?

        The real solution of course is to innovate faster than copiers can produce stuff to markets.

        But companies, who have stagnated "intellectual property" think they can produce same stuff for 20 years with cosmetic changes, while reaping novelty-level profits all the time.

        China is breaking that model by making cheaper copies. That's called competition.

        Whole idea of "IPR" is to remove *all* competition from the picture and as such, blatant anti-capitalism. Only owners of the company who has it, benefit: Everyone else loses.

        Especially when there's really nothing innovative at all within said "IPR": Whole copyright and patent system is a poor joke as it is now.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The cost of theft - but who's the thief?

      "Chinese companies are famous for outright piracy "

      Everyone else calls that "capitalism", "evolution" or "development".

      "Piracy" actually means that the company owning" "intellectual property" is going to sit on it at least 15 years and not doing any development at all. Totally ridiculous in an industry where everything older than 10 years is obsolete.

      It takes an year or so for copies to appear if you really have a innovative product, plenty of time to reap the profits. That's pure capitalism: Fast survive, the others won't.

      Works fine in China. But of course you can't afford to have lawyers for 1/3 of the workforce then.

    4. PaulFrederick

      Re: The cost of theft

      MAGA!

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: The cost of theft

        "MAGA!"

        Being a bully, either personally or internationally, does not make one great.

  9. ecofeco Silver badge
    Unhappy

    You can always count on the GOP!

    ..to create a recession!

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: You can always count on the GOP!

      They probably want one, because they know the democrats will be taking over soon in the house, and two years later in the white house. Just like when Bush left the economy in tatters for Obama and they blamed it all on Obama - I saw some serious suggestions from right wingers that the economic downturn before the election was because the market feared Obama would be elected!

      Regardless of whether they want one, or what Trump does to create one, one is inevitable soon. We've had an economic expansion lasting about nine years now, so we're overdue for a recession. A trade war will hasten / deepen it, but it would have come regardless. If the democrats were really smart, they'd sit out the next election and make sure republicans keep full control so they have no one to blame. If the democrats take the house, you know damn well Fox News is going to pin the blame on them when the recession comes because they "obstructed Trump".

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        @DougS -- Re: You can always count on the GOP!

        There's some conventional wisdom that goes "The best US government has a Democrat for President and a Republican Congress". The reverse is also true. Not good to have one party running everything.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You can always count on the GOP!

        "...because they know the democrats will be taking over soon in the house, and two years later in the white house."

        If they are putting Clinton as a nominee again the White House isn't sure at all. And they will as Clinton will have a billion of "campaign money" from big banks.

        Who can compete against that?

        Greedy people always go after money, win or not. That's basically irrelevant when dollars flow like a river to their own pockets. We've already seen that and I won't believe a second that the party officials have changed an iota.

        Therefore: Clinton, again. If the opponent isn't a total idiot, GOP will win that.

      3. jmch Silver badge

        Re: You can always count on the GOP!

        "If the democrats were really smart, they'd sit out the next election and make sure republicans keep full control so they have no one to blame"

        The US economy almost certainly will crash and burn, as you say it's cyclical but also Trump's presidency is accelerating the eventual nosedive with his short-termist tax cuts. It does not matter whether Democrats regain the house or not, now or later, or if Trump gets a second term or not, it will make no difference.

        Fox will blame the Democrats for obstructionism (if they don't take the house / senate / presidency) and for incompetence if they do. Nothing bad that happens will be because of Trump or the Republicans enabling him. Republican voters will believe every word unquestioningly.

      4. PaulFrederick

        Re: You can always count on the GOP!

        The Democrats will be taking over? I guess we'll see. The lunatic left has nothing positive to offer anyone. Their only talking point is they're not Trump.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: You can always count on the GOP!

          Who in the world sees USA's Democrats as "Lunatic Left"???

          They're barely a sliver away from the GOP. If that.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: You can always count on the GOP!

            "Who in the world sees USA's Democrats as "Lunatic Left"???

            They're barely a sliver away from the GOP. If that."

            That's the problem with 'left' and 'right' descriptions, it is literally 1-dimensional. I tend to map political views along 2 axes, economic and social. Economic 'far right' being US-style capitalism, 'far left' being communism, with all the usual flavours in between. On the social scale 'far right' would be the usual association of conservative neo-nazis hell-bent on preventing any change or rolling back the social order back a century or two, while far-left are the ones who want to topple the whole world order to achieve their vision of a perfect world, whatever consequences known or unknown will result from giant upheaval.

            In the US Republicans are far right on both scales. Democrats are rightist economically (certainly far further right than any European socialist/leftist party) and indeed barely a sliver from the GOP. On social issues however they are on the far left pretty much as far away from the GOP as you can get..

            I would class myself as a moderate liberal, slightly to the right on economic issues (free-market capitalism BUT with strong regulation) and quite to the left on social issues (which amounts to basically live and let live)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can always count on the GOP!

      "..to create a recession!"

      For rich people recession is _good_. That's why it's a regular thing.

      Only poor people suffer in recessions as it's a designed property transfer move from poor to rich. That's why we have those every 20 years or so: Accumulated wealth is transferred to rich(est) people. A "gift" from GOP and FED. No others are needed.

      Your income may not rise 10% per year like normally, but there's still plenty of it and you can use your loose change (few millions or so) to buy more stuff for cheap or very cheap.

      - stock price slumps, buy more stock

      - housing price drops, buy some houses more

      - cheap to loan money, take more debt with fixed interest and buy even more everything

      - buy competitors for cheap and have a monopoly (Current trend to anyone who's looking)

      What is there not to like?

      When all of that is done, it's time to stop recession and reap the profits.

      Very simple loop.

  10. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Speaking in a television interview, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said that the administration would be reviewing the roughly 6,000 comments members of the public had made to the US Trade Representative on the $200bn proposals before deciding on how to proceed with the tariffs.

    I'm surprised they feel a need to pretend they will review comments from any outside party.....

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Ah... the FCC model then?

  11. Palladium

    -$1+ trillion / year fiscal deficits as new normal without a recession.

    -Record and increasing military spending without a war.

    -Petrodollar in jeopardy.

    -Crumbling infrastructure.

    -Appalling general education standards.

    -More identity politics.

    -Worst foreign policy of an US administration, ever.

    What we are looking at is America in an irreversible decline.

    1. Fatman Silver badge

      RE: What we are looking at is America in an irreversible decline.

      No, we are looking at Making America GRATE Again

      </sarcasm>

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Even the Rome collapsed eventually ... it just took much, much longer.

      "What we are looking at is America in an irreversible decline."

      Yup. Has been since "oil crisis" and disconnecting the dollar from gold.

      Only the poor has to pretend they have money and fiat money is always pretend money: Absolutely worthless.

      Of course the actual decline has started even earlier, but the latest trick of outsourcing manufacturing to far East was the last nail in the coffin.

      There's only so long you can sell stuff made in China to unemployed in the US with astronomical profits. "Lower price" is irrelevant when people can't buy even food.

      Once that path ends, and it will as it's a dead end, you don't have buyers nor manufacturing capability. All the capital gained is parked in a tax haven and it won't come back from there either: Owners are happy with that.

      1. Giovani Tapini

        Re: Even the Rome collapsed eventually ... it just took much, much longer.

        As I recall Rome collapsed fairly quickly and created a whole panoply of issues right across western Europe and north Africa. currency collapse, power vacuums, civil unrest, breakdown of infrastructure transport, shipping, water supplies etc.

        1. PaulFrederick

          Re: Even the Rome collapsed eventually ... it just took much, much longer.

          FYI it was called The Dark Ages.

  12. Chris G Silver badge

    Not so much another brick in the wall

    As continuing the wall to keep out Mexicans right around the US.

    Trump has already built the wall in the North to piss off the Canadians, made tariffs against the EU and China , extended sanctions against Russia and a good part of the Middle East, thinks Africa is a shit hole and does a good job of alienating most of South America, India is doing OK with China and Russia, Turkey may well be on it's way out of Nato so he's well on the way to making America great again.

    No idea what he is going to do to piss off Arctic polar bears and Antarctic penguins but will definitely come up with something.

    USA! USA!

    Louder! We can't hear you behind that wall.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New Card set of Top Trumps:

    Tariff Edition

    Includes all your favourites: China, Canada, Mexico, EU, Russia, Iran and many more.

    So good the bloke with shit hair and finger on the biggest nuclear arsenal was first to buy a set.

  14. JustWondering

    Errr ...

    Is Trump going to slap tariffs on any of his companies' products that are manufactured in China?

  15. Hans 1 Silver badge

    China will of course replicate, and it will go on and on ... meanwhile, Russia, India, EU happily invest in China and take over US businesses' former marketshare of China ... way to go, guyz.

  16. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Mob nation

    The new US policies: threats, bullying and machismo - Mafia like.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mob nation

      "The new US policies: threats, bullying and machismo - Mafia like."

      New? There's nothing new in that. Only the flavouring has changed a bit.

  17. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Watch what I do, not what I say

    Trump's pronouncements are more about the news cycle than they are about serious policy. At some point he'll probably claim that the tarriffs will pay down the national debt and for lots of lovely walls. Meanwhile the cronies will be rolling back more regulation so that Americans can have lead in their water and air again and Goldman Sachs can go back to robbing the poor to feed the rich.

  18. RobertLongshaft

    Have to love all the freelance economic experts commenting here, remind me again which billion dollar empires do you run?

    Clown shoes.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Piracy ? Pot, kettle ?

    The US rise to industrial per-eminence, if not dominance was predicated upon it's "failing" to have any patent or copyright protections in place in the late 1800s early 1900s. Maybe that's where China got the idea from ?

  20. dubno

    Once upon a time....

    A long time ago,

    We had Empires -

    Run by Emperors,

    Then we had Kingdoms,

    Run by Kings, and

    Now we have

    Countries....

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Once upon a time....

      But

      We have a Queen!

  21. PaulFrederick

    The beatings will continue until productivity improves. The USA simply cannot afford to lose all manufacturing capability just so consumers can enjoy low prices. We have to make products here. This is a strategic imperative. Past administrations were prepared to destroy the country but the present one is on a different course. That's why we elected him!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is possible Trump will be saved by bots and automation where it is cheaper to have the bots in the US than in China. Not many jobs will be left but there will be some maintenance etc. And there will be less trade leaks and stolen trade secrets etc.

      And for all the beating about Trump, it does look like we will have to look seriously at basic income also in Europe.

  22. martinusher Silver badge

    We've already started referring to this as the Trump Tax

    Many people have figured out that these tariffs don't really do much except act as a form of Federal sales tax. They might encourage local manufacturers but often they're used to disguise an inefficient high cost local source (for example, most newsprint comes from Canada but at the insistence of the sole US manufacturer tariffs were put on Canadian newsprint so the local manufacturer could keep its prices high).

    The US is a big market but it only represents about 10% of global trade. If we in the US just stopped buying taxed items then its the local distributors and value added manufacturers that will feel the impact. Overseas suppliers will just find alternative markets. (...and since we're interfering with overseas trade thanks to sanctions policies they've got a huge interest in not using dollars).

    Still, I suppose its one way to redress the deficit introduced by the tax cuts. You could say that the way that things are going the only import that's not going to be taxed is money.

    1. Palladium

      Re: We've already started referring to this as the Trump Tax

      At this point everyone regards US sanctions as some random stray dog barking down their street.

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