Pandas at multiple American zoos are on loan from the Chinese government, and it could demand they be returned if Trump's trade war continues.
The beloved pandas at Washington, D.C.'s National Zoo could become the latest casualty of Trump's trade war with China.
The 20-year Chinese lease of the two adult pandas — Mei Xiang, a female, and Tian Tian, a male — expires Dec. 7, 2020, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. And China could further respond to Trump's trade war by requesting the return of their pandas, which are still property of the Chinese state and have been on loan to the United States.
Zoo representatives told the Post they "could not speculate" on the outcome of future negotiations with China over the fate of the pandas.
"According to the zoo spokesperson, no one from the Trump administration has contacted the zoo regarding the status of the pandas," CBS news reported.
The pandas are a major draw at the zoo, which had 1.8 million visitors last year, and they are a huge driver of merchandise sales and donations. The pandas also attract thousands of viewers from across the world via the "panda cam."
Trump has been involved in a back-and-forth with the Chinese government since launching his trade war last year. After he raised tariffs on Chinese goods, the Chinese government responded in kind. The war has has raised costs on many consumer products while also blocking American farmers from selling their products on the Chinese market (and triggering a flawed multi-billion-dollar bailout).
According to a new analysis released Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the trade war is going to cost Americans an additional $30 billion a year in taxes — a number that could go up even more if the latest round of threatened tariffs go into effect.
Pandas at other American zoos could also be in trouble because of the trade war. There are Chinese pandas at zoos in Memphis and Atlanta.
The pandas — like farmers, consumers, and the American economy — could now also be victims of the trade war.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.