China-US Trade Relations: A Fresh Perspective

This paper discusses the present relationship between China and the United States with respect to trade and its implications. These two countries are the powerhouses of the global economy, and their relationship should be thoroughly analyzed in order to assess how their potential trade war could affect the world. This paper introduces the background of each country, discusses their relationships and closes with a future outlook and conclusion. It offers a fresh perspective to China-US Trade relations in 2018 and beyond.


“We are not in a trade war with China; that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S.” This quote made by United States president Donald Trump in April 2018 emphasizes how serious trade relations between China and the United States have become recently [Bryan, 2018]. The United States maintains a trade deficit of $300 to $500 billion (depending on the source) with China and has complained about Human Rights violations and Intellectual Property Theft by Chinese authorities. China, on the other hand, blames the United States for its recent protectionist measures.

This conflict is of particular global interest: China and the United States are among the most influential nations in the world. As major economies of the world, both nations engage together in various financial organizations such as the World Trade Organization, which China was made part of in 2011 [WTO, 2018] after 15 years of negotiations and due to US initiative [Wang, 2013] or the International Monetary Fund (China joined in 1945 and rejoined in 1980) [IMF, 2017]. On the political side, they collaborate on all kinds of global issues in the United Nations [UN, 2018]. Various members have tried to appeal to both sides at the IMF Spring Meetings, since their dispute could potentially be the beginning of a global recession [Jiming & Posen, 2018]. Furthermore, the conflicts could cause a new political divide. It is not an exaggeration to say that the recent issues between both countries can affect the future of our planet.

This paper attempts to provide a more thorough understanding of the conflict in China-U.S. trade relations. The first section covers historical milestones in bilateral trade between the two countries and the reasons that have led to the current situation. Export data of the year 2016 has been used to examine the pattern of trade and its key industries. The conclusion provides an overview of most recent developments and their correlation with each other. All in all, the aim of this paper is to use statistical and historical data to explain current events in the trade relations between China and the United States, and provide an outlook on possible consequences.


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