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The US-China Trade War: A Timeline

In early July, US President Donald Trump followed through on months of threats to impose sweeping tarifs on China for its alleged unfair trade practices.

So far, the US has already slapped tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese products, and has threatened tariffs on US$467 billion more.

China, for its part, has matched the US tariffs dollar-for-dollar, and is threatening qualitative measures that would affect US businesses operating in China.

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With neither Trump nor Chinese President Xi Jinping willing to back down, US-China trade tensions could erupt into a full-blown trade war. China’s own Ministry of Commerce warned that the dispute may even lead to “the largest trade war in economic history to date”.

On September 6, the public consultation period on US$200 billion worth of US tariffs on Chinese goods ended. The next day, Trump stated that he would like to implement these tariffs as soon as possible, and threatened tariffs on an additional US$267 billion worth of Chinese goods.

If implemented, the US will have slapped tariffs on essentially all imports from China – a figure exceeding US$500 billion in value. Because China only imports around US$154 billion worth of US products, China may be forced to consider more creative strategies to respond to these tariffs.

Assuming US-China trade disagreements are not resolved shortly, the next round of escalations could move the confrontation from a significant trade dispute to a genuine trade war.

Here, we present a timeline of the major events of the trade conflict, and what led up to it.

US-China trade war

Total US tariffs applied exclusively to China: US$50 billion

Total Chinese tariffs applied exclusively to US: US$50 billion

Day 64: September 7, 2018 – Trump threatens new tariffs

After the public comment period for List 3 of US tariffs on Chinese products ended on September 6, 2018, Trump threatens to impose tariffs on US$267 billion more. That would bring the total amount of tariffs threatened or imposed by the US on China to US$517 billion, accounting for essentially all Chinese exports to the US. In 2017, the US imported US$505 billion worth of products from China.

Day 49: August 23, 2018 – China and US implement second round of tariffs, China files second WTO complaint

US: US implements a 25 percent tariff on 279 goods originating from China (worth US$16 billion). Goods targeted include: semiconductors, chemicals, plastics, motorbikes and electric scooters. The full and finalized List 2 can be found here.

CN: China implements retaliatory 25 percent tariffs on 333 goods originating from the US (worth US$16 billion), including commodities such as: coal, copper scrap, fuel, buses and medical equipment. The full and finalized List 2 can be found here.

China also files a new WTO complaint against the United States’ Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods issued on August 23 under List 2 (25 percent tariffs on US$16 billion).

Day 48-49: August 22-23, 2018 – US-China dialogue  

US and Chinese mid-level representatives meet for the first time since early in the trade war. US Treasury Under Secretary David Malpass and Chinese Commerce Vice Minister Wang Shouwen met in Washington DC to discuss ways to resolve the deepening trade conflict and escalating tariffs. Discussions end with no major breakthroughs.

Day 40 : August 14, 2018 – China files WTO claim against US

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announces that a formal case has been lodged at the WTO against the US for its tariffs on solar panels, alleging that US tariffs have damaged China’s trade interests.

Day 33: August 7, 2018 – Second round of tariffs finalized and released

US: US releases a revised version of tariffs on a final list of US$16 billion worth of imports from China (List 2). Set to take effect August 23, List 2 announces that the US$16 billion of imports will now be subject to a 25 percent tariff rather than previously announced 10 percent.

Five of the 284 items in the original list published on June 15 were removed, these being: alginic acid, splitting machines, containers, floating docks, and microtomes (collectively worth US$400 million in 2017).

CN: China’s Ministry of Commerce announces a reciprocal 25 percent additional tariff on US$16 billion of US exports to China, effective August 23, 2018. The tentative List 2 can be found here.

Day 29: August 3, 2018 – China announces second round of tariffs on US products

In response to potential US tariffs on US$200 billion worth of products announced on August 1, 2018 (List 3), China’s Ministry of Commerce proposes a range of additional tariffs on 5,207 products originating from the US (worth US$60 billion), including the following:

25 percent on 2,493 products (agricultural, products, foods, textiles and products, chemicals, metal products, machinery);

20 percent on 1,078 products (foods, paperboard, chemicals works of art);

10 percent on 974 products (agricultural products, chemicals, glassware); and

5 percent on 662 products (chemicals, machinery, medical equipment).

The tentative List 3 can be found here.

Day 28: August 2, 2018 – US tariffs revisions (US$200 billion)

The USTR, at the direction of Trump, considers a 25 percent tariff rather than a 10 percent one on List 3, which was originally announced on July 10, 2018. The list targets approximately US$200 billion worth of goods and includes categories such as: consumer products, chemical and construction materials, textiles, tools, food and agricultural products, commercial electronic equipment and vehicle/automotive parts.

The US Department of Commerce also adds 44 Chinese entities to its export control list that pose a “significant risk” to US national security.

Day 5: July 10, 2018 – US releases second tariff list

US:  The USTR releases a third list of tariffs (List 3) of over 6,000 commodities originating in China (worth US$200 billion), which will be subject to a 10 percent tariff.

Day 1: July 6, 2018 – US implements first China-specific tariffs

US: The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) begins collecting a 25 percent tariff on 818 imported Chinese products (List 1) valued at US$34 billion – giving effect to the first round of tariffs, which were revised and announced on June 15, 2018.

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Meanwhile, the second round of tariffs discussed in List 2 is under review, which proposes implementing a 25 percent tariff on 284 Chinese products (worth US$16 billion). Commodities targeted in this round of tariffs include: iron or steel products, electrical machinery, railway products, instruments and apparatus.

CN: China takes retaliatory measures by imposing a 25 percent tariff on 545 goods originating from the US (worth US$34 billion), including agricultural products, automobiles and aquatic products. The full and finalized List 1 can be found here.

Events leading up to the US-China trade war

June 16, 2018: China revises its initial tariff list (25 percent on 106 products) to now include a 25 percent tariff on 545 products (valued at US$34 billion). This tariff will take effect July 6, 2018. China also proposes a second round of 25 percent tariffs on a further 114 products (valued at US$16 billion).

June 15, 2018: Initial list of products reduced and finalized. List 1 now implements a 25 percent tariff on a reduced 818 products (from 1,334) and is set to take effect on July 6, 2018. List 2 of 284 new products is also announced and under consideration. 

June 7, 2018: US and ZTE agree to deal that will allow ZTE to resume business.

June 4-5, 2018: Two days of trade talks between US and China held in Beijing.

May 29, 2018: US reinstates tariff plans after brief truce.

May 20, 2018: US and China agree to put the trade war on hold after China reportedly agrees to buy more US goods.

May 18, 2018: China’s Commerce Ministry announces that it will stop tariffs on US sorghum at negotiations.

May 13, 2018: Trump promises to help ZTE in a tweet.

May 3-7, 2018: US-China engage in trade talks in Beijing, where the US demands that China reduce the trade gap by US$200 billion within two years. Talks end with no resolution.

April 17, 2018: China announces antidumping duties of 178.6 percent on imports of sorghum from the US.

April 16, 2018: US Department of Commerce concludes that Chinese telecom company ZTE violated US sanctions. US companies are banned from doing business with ZTE for seven years.

April 4, 2018: China reacts to USTR’s initial list, and proposes 25 percent tariffs to be applied on 106 products (worth US$50 billion) on goods such as soybeans, automobile, chemicals (list revised on June 16).

April 3, 2018: The USTR releases an initial list of 1,334 proposed products (worth US$50 billion) subject to a potential 25 percent tariff (list revised June 15).

April 2, 2018: China imposes tariffs (ranging 15-25 percent) on 128 products (worth US$3 billion) including fruit, wine, seamless steel pipes, pork and recycled aluminium in retaliation to the US’ steel and aluminium tariffs.

March 23, 2018: US imposes a 25 percent tariff on all steel imports (except from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, and South Korea) and a 10 percent tariff on all aluminium imports (except from Argentina and Australia).

 March 22, 2018: Trump signs a memorandum directing the following acts:

To file a WTO case against China for their discriminatory licensing practices;

To restrict investment in key technology sectors; and

To impose tariffs on Chinese products (such as aerospace, information communication technology and machinery).

February 7, 2018: The US implements ‘global safeguard tariffs’ – placing a 30 percent tariff on all solar panel imports, except for those from Canada, (worth US$8.5 billion) and a 20 percent tariff on washing machine imports (worth US$1.8 billion).

November 8-10, 2017: Trump pays a “state visit plus” to China, where relations were considered to have warmed.

August 18, 2017: The USTR initiates an investigation into certain acts, policies and practices of the Chinese government relating to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation.

May 22, 2017: US and China agree to a trade deal that would give US firms greater access to China’s agriculture, energy, and financial markets, while China gains access to sell cooked poultry to the US.

April 28, 2017: The USTR is authorized to investigate whether steel/aluminium imports pose a threat to national security.

April 6-7, 2016: Xi visits Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where they agree to set up a 100 Day Action Plan to resolve trade differences.

May 2, 2017: While campaigning for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Trump says “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.” The statement is one of many that Trump makes on the campaign trail about China’s trade practices.

September 21, 2011: Before running for president, Trump tweets “China is neither an ally or a friend — they want to beat us and own our country.” The tweet is among several statements he makes criticizing China’s trade practices before running for president.

Une vidéo qui résume bien la situation.

Source : http://www.china-briefing.com



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