Trade war

The big picture

The U.S.-China trade war quietly escalates

And it's likely here to stay.

Jul 16, 2020 - World
Governments turn to protectionism in pandemic fallout

Global cross-border merger activity is down 40% year-to-date.

Jun 8, 2020 - World
Despite promises, Trump's trade deficits are only growing

Under Trump, the U.S. trade deficit has increased by $125 billion.

Sep 3, 2019 - Economy & Business

All Trade war stories

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Dec 16, 2020 - World

U.S. accuses Switzerland and Vietnam of currency war

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Switzerland and Vietnam have officially been designated as currency manipulators, the Treasury Department announced today.

Why it matters: The designation allows the White House to impose a broad range of tariffs, sanctions and other punishments on the two friendly countries, both of whom have been struggling with strengthening currencies this year.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

The tech war between the U.S. and China escalates

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic tension between the U.S. and China continues to escalate but is shifting in focus — away from the tit-for-tat trade war and toward a more direct confrontation over the future of technology at the heart of the conflict between the world's two largest economies.

Why it matters: The battle between the U.S. and China was always about tech supremacy and the direct confrontation could result in an accelerated splintering of global supply chains and a significant reduction of international commerce.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 8, 2020 - Economy & Business

Possible restrictions on Chinese chip exports could do harm to U.S. growth

Data: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Trump administration's trade war with China and the coronavirus pandemic have crippled U.S. exports this year and could worsen as the administration reportedly is considering export restrictions on China’s most advanced manufacturer of semiconductors.

Where it stands: The U.S. trade deficit has risen to its highest since July 2008 and U.S. exports of goods and services as a percentage of GDP shrank to the lowest level since 2003 in the second quarter.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 3, 2020 - Economy & Business

Americans are less worried about tariffs

Reproduced from CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. consumers are getting less concerned about the impact of tariffs on their daily lives, new data show.

What happening: After consumer concern about the tariffs rose to record highs in April and May, CivicScience noted a consistent decline that has pushed overall readings on concern down to nearly their levels before the pandemic began in the U.S.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

China is less than halfway to its "phase 1" trade deal targets

Reproduced from Peterson Institute for International Economics; Chart: Axios Visuals

To satisfy the conditions of the phase one U.S.-China trade deal, China is expected to purchase at least $200 billion more in U.S. exports combined in 2020 and 2021. Data shows that as of July they are more than 50% behind the pace of expected purchases.

By the numbers: So far, China's purchase of covered products was $39.3 billion, compared with a year-to-date target of $83.2 billion, Chad Bown, a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, notes.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jul 8, 2020 - Economy & Business

More than a quarter of Americans are spending less because of China tariffs

Data: CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

While the U.S.-China trade war has drawn fewer headlines in recent months, nearly seven in 10 Americans say they are concerned about how tariffs are impacting the cost of things they purchase. That's the same number registered in March when the coronavirus pandemic began to escalate.

Why it matters: Despite record low interest rates and trillions of dollars in stimulus from Congress and the Fed, everyday Americans say they are pulling back spending, with 28% saying they are buying less than they used to because prices had increased.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
May 26, 2020 - Economy & Business

U.S.-China trade tensions are escalating again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the coronavirus pandemic appears to be subsiding in China, it's becoming clear that its targets for the phase one trade deal with the U.S. are unrealistic and there is so far no sign of a plan for renegotiation.

What's happening: White House National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said Thursday the trade deal was "intact, and China has every intent of implementing it."

Dave Lawler, author of World
May 20, 2020 - World

Josh Hawley crafts the case against China

Hawley. Photo: Carlos Barria-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) will lambast China on Wednesday, arguing on the Senate floor that the existing international order must be ripped up to avert a future in which America takes “second place to the imperialists in Beijing.”

Why it matters: Hawley’s star has risen fast, and the 40-year-old freshman senator is often discussed as a 2024 presidential prospect. He’s betting that Trump’s populist nationalism and hawkishness on China aren’t passing phenomena, but the future of the Republican Party.

More Trade war stories