THE TIMELINE OF THE US – CHINA TRADE WAR
-By Tobi Caleb
WASHINGTON D.C- There’s an adage that says “when two elephants wrestle, the grass suffers”. In this case, the elephants are the USA and Chinese governments; and the grass comprises the Chinese and American consumers primarily, and the remaining worldwide consumers (including us) secondarily. Over the last couple of months, the trade relationship between the governments in question became increasingly sour. The US government took the first blood (and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th).
This tussle affects both American and Chinese consumers because the USA government introduced increased tariffs on imported goods from China and the Asian giants retaliated likewise. We – international consumers – are also not spared because products whose parts are made in one of the countries but are coupled in the other will be difficult to procure. My knowledge about issues like this is abysmal but I’m pretty sure it’ll be in our best interests if the two governments let bygones be bygones.
Here is a timeline that shows the growth of the war.
- April 2017: President Donald J. Trump launches an investigation into the importation of steel and aluminium from China and other countries, assessing their threat to national security.
- August 2017: President Donald J. Trump launches another investigation that targets china specifically with a particular focus on alleged theft of US intellectual property. Chinese run media says probe will poison relationship between the two countries.
- A quiet few months: there seems to be a budding relationship between the two presidents.
- January 2018: USA announces tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines, most of which come from China. China expresses strong dissatisfaction over the decision.
- March 2018: Trump announces a global tax on steel and aluminium imports. China, the world’s biggest steel exporter promises to take action if Chinese businesses suffer as a result.
- Early – Mid April 2018: China retaliates by imposing tariffs on $3 billion worth US imports and says action is in response to US steel and aluminium tariffs. In less than 24 hours, the US government reacts by proposing tariffs on $ 50 billion worth of Chinese imports, the Chinese government do the same and there are threats flying from both camps. The US government turns the heat up again by banning one of China’s biggest tech companies – ZTE – from purchasing products from American firms due to a breach in agreement on the part of the company; the next day, the Chinese government proposes to start charging about 179% on US sorghum after an investigation found out that the shipments were unfairly subsidized.
- Late April 2018: officials from both countries say that they would be interested in holding talks to discuss trade issues.
- Early May 2018: trade war put on hold.
- Late May 2018: US revive the tariff threat on $50 billion worth of goods from China in a surprise move. It also announces new limits on Chinese investment in high – tech companies. China says it is ready to retaliate.
- June 2018: war continues with the same old tactics from both countries.
There are rumours that Donald Trump plans on imposing new tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. All we can do right now is to wait and witness the domino effect.