Chinese Tariffs on U.S. Energy Would Signal a New Attitude

In placing retaliatory tariffs on certain goods and products, America’s trade partners have signaled how well they understand American politics. By targeting products from areas supportive of President Donald Trump, they clearly hope to generate pressure to lift U.S. tariffs or even create broader political problems for the president. But China is sending much more interesting — and complex — messages with its indication that it may place retaliatory tariffs on U.S. energy exports.

Since the 1990s, China has made it a priority to secure adequate energy imports to fuel its economic growth. Acquiring this energy was, and to some extent still is, a major driver of China’s foreign policy. The fact that China now feels comfortable creating obstacles to the acquisition of some energy from abroad suggests several things…


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