Fears of an incoming recession in the United States have increased in recent weeks, as the trade war between the world’s two largest economies continues, and the Trump Administration moves to impose tariffs on nearly all remaining imports from China.
The trade war with China started out as one of Trump’s campaign promises in 2016, and it has quickly become one of the hallmarks of his presidency.
Trump first held a meeting with his Chinese counterpart in April 2017, where they agreed to a 100-day plan for trade talks. But when they failed to agree on steps to reduce the US trade deficit with China, Trump began moving to call for an investigation into accusations that China is guilty of intellectual property theft.
In March 2018, Trump announced plans to place a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese imports, directly targeting steel and aluminum.
China retaliated in April by announcing that it would place tariffs on around 130 US products, including meat, fruits and nuts.
Then in July 2018, after Washington’s first set of tariffs on $34 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese goods went into effect, the Trump Administration announced a $12 billion-dollar bailout program for the farmers who would be impacted by the trade war.
The US dramatically increased its threats against China in August, announcing it would target more than $200 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese imports, and increase the tariff from 10 percent to 25 percent. But instead of backing down, China continued to retaliate with counter measures.
Leaders from the US and China met in December 2018 and agreed to a trade truce that would delay the escalation of US tariffs and push for more peace talks between the two countries
That lasted until May 2019, when Trump accused China of failing to keep past agreements and announced that the US would be moving forward plans to increase tariffs.
Also in May, the Trump Administration announced it was adding Huawei to its “Entity List,” effectively banning US companies from working with the Chinese telecom giant without government approval.
While trade talks with China resumed over the summer, Trump made another abrupt turn in August 2019 when he announced that the US would move forward with placing tariffs on virtually all remaining imports from China—specifically targeting consumer goods.
That brings us to present day where the US and China say they still plan to hold trade talks this month. But the latest rounds of tariffs imposed by both countries went into effect on September 1, and it marked the first time China targeted US oil, raising the question of when this tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies will ever come to an end.