Trump is on path to full-scale trade war: first China, then Europe

US protectionism is in accord with the spirit of the times – but it won’t have a happy ending

Much to the delight of Hollywood, Donald Trump wants to open a new front in his trade offensive by punishing China for theft of America’s intellectual property rights.

The US entertainment industry is not awfully keen on Trump, having strongly backed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, but is even less keen on its movies and TV shows being ripped off by the world’s most populous country.

Related: Trump tariffs: China warns trade war would be ‘disaster’

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Trump and trade tariffs: big lies founded on small truths | Yanis Varoufakis

The president claims he wants to support blue-collar workers – but that notion soon collapses into a pool of implausibility

Donald Trump is perhaps the US president best equipped to understand that some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.

His personal business plan always involved racking up enormous deficits and debts, before finding a way to unload them on to others – his employees and creditors mostly.

Related: Minted: the rich guys in Trump’s cabinet who can’t resist public money

The fact is, Donald Trump is only pretending to care about the trade deficit

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Markets cautious ahead of US jobs report – business live

Investors were cautious on Friday ahead of the closely-watched non-farm payrolls report, as they await clues on the likely path of US interest rate

In case you missed it yesterday, here is how events unfolded in the US as President Trump pressed ahead with plans to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium:

Related: Trump tariffs: president signs order on metal imports – as it happened

Connor Campbell, analyst at Spread Ex, says traders are also weighing up the news that has come from the White House in the past 24 hours:

Despite a 24 hour period stuffed with international developments, the markets avoiding any drastic movements this Friday.

Perhaps it’s because investors are caught between Donald Trump signing an order dictating tariffs on metal imports – but one with room for country-by-country exceptions – and the news that the President is set to meet Kim Jong-un for an unprecedented summit.

Here are the latest scores on the board as investors await the main event this afternoon with the US non-farm payrolls report for February.

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

After shrugging off Donald Trump’s decision to press ahead with plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, European investors are in a more cautious mood this morning.

Ultimately it’s not the headline jobs number that is likely to be the primary market mover here, it’s the average hourly earnings data and markets will be looking to see if the jump to 2.9% in January is sustained in the February numbers, with 2.8% expected.

This would probably be sufficient to keep the four rate rise expectation for 2018 on the table after the jump from 2.5% in December.

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China promises ‘necessary response’ to US tariffs as trade war fears grow

Foreign minister Wang Yi warns that the only outcome from Trump’s protectionist measures will be ‘harmful’

The prospect of a trade war between China and the United States has increased after Beijing’s foreign minister said it would make a “necessary response” in the event of Donald Trump introducing punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

The US president was expected to approve the 25% levy on steel and 10% on aluminium imports this week, possibly as early as Thursday.

Related: A perfect economic storm made Italy ripe for a protest vote

Related: Trump’s tariff plan a black day for the world, BHP boss says

China has been asked to develop a plan for the year of a One Billion Dollar reduction in their massive Trade Deficit with the United States. Our relationship with China has been a very good one, and we look forward to seeing what ideas they come back with. We must act soon!

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Xi’s wretched turn to despotism is born of frailty. Dictatorship will begin to crumble | Will Hutton

Expanding economic power will be crucial to China, but can the new ‘empire’ thrive?

It was breathtaking even if inevitable. China has abandoned its constraints on one-party rule. In 1980 Deng Xiaoping, the author of the Chinese miracle, wrote into China’s constitution 10-year term limits for its presidents and committed the country to the rule of law. Certainly China would continue as a one-party state, but it would be one that operated within constitutional bounds. Never again would the country suffer the depredations of a despot like Mao. Deng even held out the possibility that by 2030 China might become a democracy with a properly independent judiciary.

No more. Last Sunday the People’s Daily announced that President Xi would be carrying on in office indefinitely. Equally ominously, the constitutional commitment to the rule of law – in any case more observed in the breach – was to be transformed into a commitment to “wielding the law to rule”. No prizes for guessing who would wield that law. A newly drafted first clause in the constitution, in line with the “thoughts of Xi Jinping”, declares that the “leadership of the Chinese Communist party is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

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Reactions to US steel tariffs

Chinese officials warn against unilateral trade limits after 25% tariff imposed on steel imports

China has expressed “grave concern” over US plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium, with the move likely to hurt US allies as well as Chinese producers.

Donald Trump’s announcement that the US will impose tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on imported aluminium next week sent stock markets around the world tumbling and could prompt other countries to take action.

Related: Steel and aluminum tariffs trigger sharp stock market sell-off in US and Asia

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Steel and aluminum tariffs trigger sharp US stock market sell-off

The threat of a trade war with China led the Dow Jones to lose over 570 points and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both to drop close to 2%

US stock markets tumbled on Thursday after Donald Trump said the United States would impose tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on imported aluminum next week.

The threat of a trade war with China and higher goods prices led to a sharp sell off with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing over 570 points (2.23%) and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both dropping close to 2%.

Related: Commerce department presses Trump to impose steep tariffs on overseas steel

Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world. We must not let our country, companies and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!

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WTO head rejects talk of global trade war as US hints at more tariffs

Roberto Azevêdo says countries see risks of going it alone despite Trump’s action against China

The head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has played down talk of a global trade war after the US said it was planning to take fresh action against Chinese imports.

Speaking to the Guardian in Davos, Roberto Azevêdo said countries were becoming more aware of the risks of a go-it-alone approach that would harm their poorest citizens the most.

Related: Davos 2018: US troops are ‘coming to the ramparts’ in trade war, says Wilbur Ross – live updates

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