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How the US and China could avoid a trade war

Voluntary export limits offer a face-saving solution but carry risks at well

| China
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U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago state in Palm Beach, Florida on April 6.   © Reuters

The markets are undervaluing the growing risk of trade protectionism under the Trump administration. Ever since he considered running for U.S. president in 1988, Donald Trump has changed political parties at least five times and has switched positions on hot button issues including abortion and gun control. But he has been remarkably consistent in declaring that trade deficits matter and voicing support for managed trade.

For his supporters, there is no more keenly felt political touchstone. National polling shows that "bargaining with global companies to keep jobs in America" has received 75% approval in Trump counties -- higher than "dealing" with North Korea (68%) or getting a conservative justice on the Supreme Court (38%).

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