US tariffs: Fair diagnosis, terrible remedy

US tariff moves aimed at China are wrong on many counts, including the fact that so-called 'Made in China' goods are actually the end-products of a global supply chain involving multiple countries

With the ink barely dry on the executive order authorising tariffs on steel and aluminium, United States President Donald Trump has dramatically upped the ante by threatening to impose a draconian set of protectionist measures on China.

These include tariffs on US$60 billion (S$78.9 billion) worth of Chinese goods, the full list of which will be revealed within two weeks but will likely cover hundreds of items, ranging from clothing to furniture to consumer electronics. In addition, he ordered restrictions on Chinese investment in the US in several high-tech sectors.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2018, with the headline 'Fair diagnosis, terrible remedy'. Print Edition | Subscribe