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Trade war

Trump's election-driven pressure on China threatens to boomerang

Tariffs take toll on Coke, home prices and cars ahead of midterms

Trump is taking a hard line on China to excite his base, which heavily supports the tariffs, as the U.S. economy emerges unfazed from the trade war's opening salvos.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON/BEIJING -- U.S. President Donald Trump is stepping up tariff threats against China, betting that a tough policy toward Beijing will translate into congressional election victories in November, as strong economic growth at home and a tariff deal with Europe give him tailwinds. But the very policies he sees as beneficial could end up hurting his own base.

"The economy is booming, steel is coming roaring back and we are so incredibly proud of each and every one of you," Trump told elated workers in late July at a U.S. Steel mill in Illinois. The Granite City mill suspended operations in 2015 but went back online in June. The administration's move in March to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports spurred demand for domestic products.

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