The Trump administration looks poised to slap a new round of tariffs of 25 percent on up to an additional $200 billion of Chinese goods, intensifying a trade standoff in which neither the U.S. nor China shows signs of backing down. “The Chinese government in its totality must not underestimate President Trump’s toughness and willingness to continue this battle,” the Director of the White House’s National Economic Council Larry Kudlow said in August, adding in a September 6 interview that, while the two sides are still talking, Trump is “dead serious” about forcing China to change its trade policies.
In the U.S., some Republican strategists worry that trade tensions will hurt Trump’s popularity, especially in several Midwestern states that are big soybean producers. What are the domestic politics for Xi Jinping of a trade war? How much is the trade war actually hurting China’s economy? And what other effects is this having on China, and on Xi’s ability to govern?