Did tariffs make a difference in Trump’s trade war?


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This week on Sinica: Did the Trump-era tariffs have their intended effects? In other words, did they prompt companies to pull up stakes in China and re-shore jobs to the United States? Kaiser chats with two political scientists, Samantha Vortherms of UC Irvine and Jack Zhang, director of the University of Kansas’s Trade War Lab, about the paper they recently published with the intention of answering that question. The paper is called “Political Risk and Firm Exit: Evidence from the US-China Trade War.” They share their findings and explore the paper’s policy implications.

4:16 – Sam and Jack offer their thoughts on U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai’s recent speech on U.S.-China trade

10:05 – Distinguishing between tariffs and other aspects of the trade war

13:46 – Previously, on the U.S.-China Trade War: a brief recap of the trade war to date

18:35 – The Foreign Invested Enterprises in China dataset

23:14 – A summary of the paper’s findings: tariffs did not increase the likelihood of firms exiting

47:15 – What explains the relative reticence of affected firms when it comes to voicing opposition to tariffs?

55:36 – What would you tell Katherine Tai and Gina Raimondo if they were your captive audience?

A transcript of this interview is available on SupChina.com.


Sam: The podcast Invisibilia, and specifically, a recent episode called “International Friend of Mystery.”

Jack: The Masters of Chinese Economics and Political Affairs (MCEPA) degree program at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, and Amitav Ghosh’s River of Smoke (part of the Ibis series).

Kaiser: A Song for Arbonne, a semi-historical fantasy novel by Guy Gavriel Kay.