Donald Trump's actions in the past week suggest he is determined to confront China and not simply follow standard convention and precedent.
He took a congratulatory call on Friday night from Taiwan's leader and followed that a few days later with a couple of tweets aimed at China about its currency devaluation, taxes on imports and maneuvering in the South China Sea.
Rhetoric is perhaps morphing into a new policy towards China.
The concept of free trade assumes that market dynamics dictate prices without intervention; such is not the real world. We all know that free trade is more a goal than reality as there are a myriad of restrictions, tariffs, and side agreements that impact trade around the world. This certainly is the case for Chinese-American trade agreements.
Automatically imposing tariffs is not necessarily the first choice for others in Washington, DC, to address current trade inequities. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said this week he prefers that economic strength come through revisions in the tax code rather than through a trade war or protectionist policies. Trade wars are negative for economic growth and, for that reason, it makes sense to be deliberate and carefully consider the unintended outcomes of accelerating a tariff based policy.