Is Trump in a Trade War with China? An Up-to-Date Guide

Our Expert Series Trade Expert, Chad Bown, provides a handy guide on White House trade actions in the past year

In the ongoing trade confrontation between President Donald Trump and China, multiple battles that could turn into a trade war have emerged. There is no technical definition for a “trade war,” and there are few episodes of major trade wars in modern history since the 1930s from which to draw parallels.

However, the battlelines have been drawn on several fronts.

BATTLE #1: SOLAR PANEL AND WASHING MACHINE IMPORTS INJURE US INDUSTRIES

This resulted in President Trump imposing $8.5bn in tariffs on solar panels and $1.5bn on washing machines.

BATTLE #2: STEEL AND ALUMINUM AS NATIONAL SECURITY THREATS

President Trump announces forthcoming 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminium, covering $48bn of imports, mostly from US allies. The only country exempt, so far, is South Korea.

BATTLE #3: UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES FOR TECHNOLOGY, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP)

Specifically targeting China. President Trump proposes tariffs on $60bn of goods, stricter investment rules and potential disputes going to the WTO.

Chad will update this timeline, as needed.

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