Mexico, China, Japan, Europe, Canada: The White House’s various conflicts add up to a broad assault on a postwar effort to build economic ties around the world.
President Trump is juggling multiple trade conflicts, with allies and with rivals. His demands have caught trading partners off guard.
President Trump on Thursday threatened to hit Mexico with new tariffs, escalating his immigration fight with America’s largest trading partner. And with that, he showed, once again, that he’s ready to employ trade as an all-purpose tool for his policy goals.
Mr. Trump is juggling multiple trade conflicts today, with allies and rivals alike. His demands, often first disclosed through Twitter, have caught trading partners off guard.
Just eight months ago, Mr. Trump’s negotiators struck a deal with Mexican and Canadian officials that they said would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. His new threat comes even before Congress has approved the deal, and signals to American partners that continuing disputes and threats are now the norm in global trade — at least as long as Mr. Trump is in office.
Of course, Mexico isn’t Mr. Trump’s only target. Far from it. In fact, what he’s taking on is broader than any particular country. He is challenging the post-World War II consensus that free trade enriches the world.
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