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China Center Quick Note: Locked and Loaded -- US Trade Policy on China

Several months into the new US administration, the US-China business community began to feel a degree of relief as Trump’s heated campaign rhetoric on China fell by the wayside, presumably in the face of more immediate priorities. Although a harsh tone on China remained, few of the specific short-term policy threats came to fruition, and other “trade war”-related concepts seemed shunted to the back burner.

History, however, will likely show that 2017 represented not a time of relaxation on China by the Trump administration, but rather a period of tactical preparation by the administration’s trade team. From national security investigations on steel, to pending CFIUS legislation in Congress, to the ongoing Section 301 investigation on China’s IP policies, the US government is collectively loading up an impressive array of economic bullets to potentially fire at China if and when the decision is made to go on the offensive. 

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