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China Set for Trade War if Trump Imposes Tariffs

Donald Trump is brewing a battle with China on and off Twitter.

The U.S. President-elect—who will officially take office in two weeks—could very likely be provoking a trade war with the Asian powerhouse.

According to U.S. commerce secretary Penny Pritzker, China says it will retaliate if the proposed tariffs are in fact imposed, and its response won’t spell good news for relations between the world’s two biggest economies.

“The Chinese leadership said to me ‘If you guys put an import duty on us we are going to do it on you’,” Pritzker told the Financial Times in an interview, adding, “And then they said ‘That will be bad for both of us.’”

Trump has been tough on trade throughout his campaign, reiterating most of his promises during the current transition period. He has said he will renegotiate NAFTA, nix the TPP and consider a 10 percent tax on all imports, among other things.

But China has been bearing the brunt of Trump’s trade wrath.

The President-elect has promised to call China a currency manipulator and impose tariffs of up to 45 percent on its goods.

Trump has been clear about his feelings that China has been cheating the trade system and taking far too many America’s jobs, and his promised policies appear set to punish the country for it.

Secretary Priztker, however, said Trump’s views on China are oversimplified.

“If it was so terrible why would American business continue to want to do business in China?” she posed to the Financial Times. “But I think that the Chinese posture…towards foreign-developed products is changing towards favoring indigenous developed products…That’s the issue I think that faces the next administration.”

Whatever Trump decides about his trade dealings with China and the rest of the world, the issues shouldn’t be raised or settled in 140 characters or less. The world seems quite tired of Trump’s Twitter tirades.

Pritzker told the Financial Times in the same interview that, “you can’t do policy in short headlines.” And China took to its own media to address the issue, writing in its Xinhua News publication last week that Trump’s “obsession with ‘Twitter diplomacy’ is undesirable,” and that, “It is a commonly accepted that diplomacy is not a child’s game—and even less is it business dealing.”