By Invitation

The slippery slope of a trade war

Expect tougher anti-China rhetoric from US President Donald Trump as mid-terms approach. The danger is that trade is just one prop on a stage for a wider confrontation.

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

"We will prevail." This has become the mantra in Washington and Beijing as relations between the two largest economies in the world careen down the path of a full-blown trade war.

As damaging as a trade war will be for the global economy, it is arguably part of a volatile sequence of events that suggests the US and China are sliding precariously into a new Cold War, the portents of which extend far beyond the rectification of the American balance of trade.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2018, with the headline 'The slippery slope of a trade war'. Subscribe