Markets have largely ignored President Donald Trump’s continual escalation of a trade war with China. But they may be making a mistake.
Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, Chairman of Societe Generale, told CNBC last week financial markets should pay more attention to trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies. According to the network:
“I don’t think a trade war is very good, said Bini Smaghi, an Italian economist and former European Central Bank board member. He acknowledged there is a need to “put pressure on China to liberalize.”
However, the world’s two largest economies need to find a way to resolve their trade dispute before it spills over and drags down global growth, Bini Smaghi told “Squawk Box.”
“If it gets worse, the whole world economy is going to slow down,” said the chairman of SocGen, the Paris-based banking giant.
Trump last week announced tariffs of 10 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, rising to 25 percent at the end of the year. Chinese officials say they will levy retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.
“This round of tariffs is going to cause even more damage for US companies,” William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, told CNN Money.
The concern of business leaders, though, isn’t likely to sway Trump, according to Politico, which interviewed former advisor Steve Bannon.
According to Politico:
Bannon said the aim was not just to force China to give up on its “unfair trade practices” – the ultimate goal was to “re-industrialise America” because manufacturing was the core of a nation’s power.
He also took aim at the “Made in China 2025” plan – an attempt by Beijing to catch up with the West in 10 key technology sectors, saying China was using generous government support to reduce its reliance on the West for future technology.
Bannon, who claimed to have helped Trump draw up the trade war plan, said that in the past, tariffs had been limited to imports of between roughly US$10 billion and US$30 billion but the sheer magnitude of the more than US$500 billion in question this time had “caught Beijing off guard.”