US-China Trade War

Battles lines drawn between the world's two largest economies
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Background and explainers on the trade war between China, led by President Xi Jinping, and the United States, and its President Donald Trump. Having started in July 2018, the prolonged conflict reached a turning point in January 2020 with the signing of the phase one trade deal, but not after it had weighed heavily on the global economy for 18 months due to additional import tariffs levied by both China and the US. The US has accused China of unfair trading practices, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, lack of market access for American companies in China and creating an unlevel playing field through state subsidies of Chinese companies. China, meanwhile, believes the US is trying to restrict its rise as a global economic power.

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After a year in office, Joe Biden is yet to move away from the destructive tariffs of his predecessor and it is the Americans who are suffering, not the Chinese.
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The two sides ironically see eye to eye as a new US Senate bill proposes banning defence contractors from buying Chinese-sourced rare earths. Meantime, Beijing has been mulling putting restrictions on rare earth supplies crucial to those same manufacturers.
SCMP ColumnistAlex Lo
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US-backed efforts to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative will also help improve infrastructure and access for developing nations from Africa to Latin America.
SCMP ColumnistWang Xiangwei
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Industrial policy, which fell out of favour with economists by the end of the 20th century, is making a comeback. Developing countries need manufacturing and industrial policies more than ever to close the technology gap with developed nations.
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The growing perception gap over China’s contributions and damage to global trade and the WTO threatens to compromise the organisation’s future and make urgently needed reforms difficult.
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China’s SOEs are in the centre of debate, amid US and EU concerns and a desire to update global trade rules. But China is not the only SOE-dominated economy. Those picking a fight may find themselves outflanked.
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Washington’s Summit for Democracy has made half the world a pariah by defining as ‘authoritarian’ any country that does not share its choice of political system, writes Chandran Nair.
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The US and China have agreed to cooperate in the release of oil reserves in concert with several American allies in a bid to slow skyrocketing prices and fight surging inflation. Success remains to be seen, but this at least shows that two countries that are often bitter rivals can still work together when they chose to do so
Trade must be high on the agenda for both countries as economic growth and the benefits of easy money grow steadily weaker. Global growth prospects are in urgent need of a reboot, and renewed US-China dialogue could pave the way for changes.
Losing control of the House or Senate would make it harder for Biden to pass his reform agenda. Policies can still be pushed through via executive order, although this would add to uncertainty for investors and businesses.
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Talks between presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden just may have cleared the air over Taiwan but plenty of challenges lie ahead, particularly on the economic front.
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Recent global meetings have underscored the need for greater leadership from China and the US on issues from climate to pandemic recovery. Both leaders also need to calm the waters ahead of a critical year domestically.
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