Far from resolved, US-China trade war scales up

Industry News | 14 May 2019

There was no trade deal between China and the US and tensions have instead heated up again.


At the start of this month, there had been suggestions that the US and China were about to sign a free trade agreement that would put a stop to the tit-for-tat tariffs that had been affecting both nations and the wider world.

Now, though, any hopes for an imminent reconciliation appear to have been dashed after US president Donald Trump again raised tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of Chinese imports - and threatened more on those that have not yet been targeted.

The president alleged that China had reneged on commitments made during months of talks and defended his decision to apply more tariffs, commenting on Twitter: "We are right where we want to be with China. Remember, they broke the deal with us & tried to renegotiate."

In response, China said it "deeply regrets" the US's decision to increase levies and warned it will have to retaliate with the "necessary countermeasures", suggesting frozen vegetables and liquefied natural gas could be first in line to be targeted by Beijing.

Certainly, past evidence has shown retaliatory tariffs have been applied by the Asian nation almost immediately after such action by America.

Analysts have criticised Mr Trump's decision, with French finance minister Bruno Le Maire warning further escalation of this trade dispute puts other countries at risk.

"There is no greater threat to world growth," he told CNews.

Despite this decline in diplomatic relations, Mr Trump has insisted US-Chinese relations remain strong and that talks between Washington and Beijing will continue.

There have been suggestions that a meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping is planned at the forthcoming G20 summit in Japan, where a free trade agreement will again be discussed.

"We're in a great position right now, no matter what we do. I think China wants to have it," Mr Trump has commented.

However, it remains to be seen how successful any further talks will be - and the situation is far less optimistic than earlier this month, when both nations appeared close to ending months of tensions.