Trade War with China Continues, Narratives Differ

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Alex Wong/Getty Images


We ran the numbers: There are 2176 news articles covering this topic. 11% (230) are left leaning, 46% (995) center, 44% (951) right leaning.

On Sunday, new tariffs between the United States and China went into effect, marking the next phase of the ongoing trade war between the two countries. President Trump has long focused on enacting tougher measures with China; the two countries have been unable to reach an agreement, with each instead have continued placing tariffs on imports from the other country. Increased tariffs are likely to drive up prices for US consumers, creating a further incentive for Trump to reach a deal with China before the 2020 presidential election. The Trump administration is scheduled to implement another round of tariffs on December 15, after which point nearly all goods imported from China would be covered under American tariffs. The timing of the second round of tariffs makes it possible that American consumers will see higher prices during the holiday shopping season.

A right-leaning Fox News article about the new tariffs acknowledges the possibility that consumers may see higher prices as the result of the tariffs, saying “As a result of Trump's higher tariffs, many U.S. companies have warned that they will be forced to pass on to their customers the higher prices they will pay on Chinese imports. Some businesses, though, may decide in the end to absorb the higher costs rather than raise prices for their customers.” Additionally, the article notes, the tariffs may slow the American economy, as growth slowed last quarter and may be further depressed by higher consumer prices.

A left-leaning article from the Washington Post explains the risks to American consumers, with a harsher interpretation: “While the Trump administration formulated earlier rounds of tariffs to try to shield consumers, hitting only 29 percent of so-called final goods from China, with the latest round, that number jumps to 69 percent, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics:.” Another  article notes that 160 businesses in the American Free Trade Coalition asked the president to hold off on the tariffs until after the busy holiday shopping period. 

Unlike the other articles, a centrist piece from The Hill focuses on how the tariffs may impact Trump’s chances for reelection. The article argues that securing a trade deal with China could be a major win for the Trump administration that could bolster his support in the 2020 election. However, “A failure to reach an agreement before the 2020 election, on the other hand, could dampen his chances if voters hurt by the trade war sour on the president.”