Abstract: We provide the first quantitative evaluation of the impacts and interactions of the US-China trade wars and industrial policy competitions. We extend the multi-country-multi-sector model in Caliendo and Parro (2015) by incorporating sectoral external economies of scale. We find that (i) under our baseline calibration of scale economies, the "Made-in-China 2025" ("MIC 2025") subsidies tend to improve the welfare of both China and the U.S.; (ii) the US gains from Trump administration's tariffs if China does not retaliate, and the gain is larger if China had implemented the "MIC 2025" project; (iii) in a non-cooperative tariff game targeting on high-tech industries supported by the "MIC 2025", both China and the U.S. impose high tariffs and endure welfare losses; and (iv) if it is feasible for the U.S. to subsidize its own high-tech industries, the U.S. would reduce its tariffs on high-tech imports from China and benefit from its own industrial subsidies. These results (i) provide a rationale for trade wars and industrial policy competitions between the U.S. and China, and (ii) suggest that industrial subsidies, if properly implemented, may generate less distortion than import tariffs as a means of international competition.
Keywords: Trade War, Industrial Policy, Scale Economies, Strategic Interactions
JEL Classification: F12; F13; F17; F51