President Donald Trump has been escalating the administration’s economic confrontations with China, the European Union, and other trading partners over most of the last year. Each battle has employed a particular legal rationale, including the invocation of national security, and claims about burdening US commerce to impose—or threaten to impose—tariffs and/or quotas on imports. Many of these steps have been notable for violating rules and regulations embodied by previous agreements with trading partners or by those enforced by the World Trade Organization (WTO). President Trump’s actions and threats have nearly always provoked trading partners to retaliate and warn of further actions, posing a major risk to worldwide flows of goods, services, and investments.
How the United States Should Confront China Without Threatening the Global Trading System