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President Donald Trump has promised to take a tough line with China over bilateral trade. Now word comes that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at China’s National People’s Congress that China does not want a trade war, but that if it did happen, the U.S. could be hurt. Neither the U.S. nor China has taken significant steps to punish the other on trade since Trump took office. But if the U.S. were to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports, U.S. agriculture and aerospace might be early targets for retaliation, since China imports American farm products and airplanes that could be supplied by other countries. And U.S. consumers could see a rise in prices because of punitive tariffs on everything from toys to iPhones. But a trade war would also hurt China, because the Chinese economy is heavily dependent on the U.S. export market for jobs. 

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Follow Mitchell Hartman at @entrepreneurguy