How trade wars end — and why Donald Trump’s will be different

As China and the United States got closer to a full-blown trade war on Wednesday, with China threatening tariffs on 106 more U.S. products after a similar U.S. move on Tuesday, one major question is now looming larger than ever over the world’s two biggest economies: Once you’re in a trade war, how do you get out of it?

Both sides have shown little willingness to back down in recent weeks. After President Donald Trump proclaimed in an early-March tweet that “trade wars are good, and easy to win,” China shot back days later in a statement that “China would fight to the end to defend its own legitimate interests with all necessary measures.”

If past trade disputes and differences with the current confrontation can offer any indication, there likely won’t be an easy solution.

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