It seems like the latest trade dispute between China and America is all wrapped up in foil.
The US accuses China of subsiding its aluminium producers, who then export to the US and sell their foil at a discount. This, the Department of Commerce has decreed, is an unfair advantage and pushing Americans out of jobs.
It’s worth noting that America produces domestically 70% of its foil needs and imports around 20% from China.
The response: import taxes.
The US has decided to impose, at the far end of the scale, an 81% tax on Chinese aluminium foil imports.
This is to be expected.
America has a history of taxing imports which it feels are priced anti-competitively, in order to protect its economy. Added to this, we’ve got Trump in the White House. The economic policy he touted throughout his presidential campaign was often labelled as protectionist. It wasn’t too long ago where he wanted to officially label China a “currency manipulator.”
So is this a full blown trade war?
No. It’s a skirmish.
Aluminium foil makes up only a tiny percentage of imports from China and America needs China’s help in dealing with North Korea. Also, China has failed to impose any anti-American measures of its own.
And the joke is that one of America’s biggest exports to China is…waste aluminium.