Stories by Kevin Rudd

Expert Voices

Critical window is about to close for U.S.-China trade deal

Illustration of the hands of a clock getting closer to midnight with a star beneath
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The resumption of U.S.-China trade negotiations in October, after an acrimonious summer, is likely to offer the last chance for a breakthrough before both sides flip to a more hardline nationalist Plan B in 2020.

The big picture: The protracted dispute is impacting growth, business confidence and economic uncertainty in both countries. A 2019 deal remains probable and in each leader’s best interests, as President Trump looks to his 2020 campaign amid a softening economy and Chinese President Xi Jinping faces political liabilities from slowing growth.

Expert Voices

A new era of U.S.–China competition calls for new rules

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Even as the U.S.–China trade war escalates, the two powers are fighting a greater battle at the frontiers of technology. With its “Made in China 2025” strategy — targeting sectors like aviation, high-speed rail, electric vehicles and agricultural machinery — China aspires to build firms that will not only replace foreign technology and products domestically but supplant them internationally.

Why it matters: In 2018 U.S.–China relations have entered a period of profound strategic drift, a pivotal moment in the transition from cooperation to competition. It’s an open question whether this split will spawn a cold war or even a military confrontation — prospects some policymakers are now considering for the first time — but there’s no doubt that a wider economic war is now upon us, to be waged over ownership of the technological innovations that will drive the 21st century.