The U.S.-China Trade War: Is There an End in Sight?

Author
Simon Lester, Huan Zhu
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
The Cato Journal
Volume
40
Issue Number
1
Publication Date
Winter 2020
Institution
The Cato Institute
Abstract
Donald Trump was a trade “hawk” long before he became president. In the late 1980s, he went on the Oprah Winfrey show and complained about Japan “beating the hell out of this country” on trade (Real Clear Politics 2019). As president, he has continued with the same rhetoric, using it against a wide range of U.S. trading partners, and he has followed it up with action (often in the form of tariffs). While many countries have found themselves threatened by Trump’s aggressive trade policy, his main focus has been China. As a result, the United States and China have been engaged in an escalating tariff, trade, and national security conflict since July 2018, when the first set of U.S. tariffs on China went into effect and China retaliated with tariffs of its own. In this article, we explore the U.S.-China economic conflict, from its origins to the trade war as it stands today. We then offer our thoughts on where this conflict is heading and when it might end.
Topic
Economics, International Trade and Finance, Tariffs, Trade Wars, Donald Trump
Political Geography
China, Asia, North America, United States of America