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Could Higher Tariffs Play into Trump’s Hand?

Much to the surprise of many investors, President Donald Trump followed through on his threat to increase the 10% tariff on $200 billion of Chinese imports to a 25% tariff. So much for the art of the deal.

The President is sending mixed signals as he talks about possibility of agreement but he also talks about a new program to buy agricultural products from American farmers to distribute as food aid around the world. That would require appropriating funds and another issue is that American farmers have always preferred the greater reliability of trade to aid. In the 2018 election Republican support faded in farm country, and a long term escalation in the trade war could have negative political repercussions for Trump in 2020.

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