U.S. China Trade War Timeline

03 Sep U.S. China Trade War Timeline

It seems that this trade war is a recent event. Especially with the escalation of tension in the past few weeks. But in reality, this dispute has been going on for over a year. We just so happen to be at the boiling point as of right now. In recent weeks, if not days we have seen significant developments in this situation including President Trump giving a non-formal order to all American corporations to begin looking for alternatives to China for their production. Some may say that was a drastic move, but these assumptions may have been made without the proper context. That is exactly what this article is supposed to provide.

This whole situation began with the summer in 2018. On June 15th Trump announced that there would be a 25% tariff allotted to approximately $34 Billion worth of Chinese goods destined for American shores. Not only three days after, President Trump threatened a 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Now, this is already a staggering number. But the deficit aside, the worlds largest economy, threatening this kind of action against the worlds second largest economy is going to have repercussions in one way or another. This stands for both countries domestically as well as all countries globally.

July 6th, 2018: Americas Tariffs on the initial $34 billion of Chinese products go into effect.

In retaliation to this, China reduced import of many crucial American agricultural goods. These goods are crucial to both American farmers, and Chinese manufacturers. Corn, wheat, and soy farmers suffered greatly from this. In light of this backlash, Trump offered support to our blue-collar fieldsmen in the form of a $12 billion bailout. Not only did Trump respond with the bailout, but he then threatened an iincrease of 15% on the 10% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese exports. The heat is on.

As the year wound down it seemed as though both Presidents Xi and Trump were to meet some sort of common groun

d at the G20 Summit of 2018 after they announed a delay of U.S. escalation of the tariffs until March 1st of the following year. But even though a compromise was seemingly made, Trump insured the American people that they would come first in the outcome of this trade deal. And on February 24th, the tariff increase on China was imposed…indefinitely.

The American people were ready to endure whatever was coming their way, but the Chinese government wasn’t ready for the violent protest that would take place in Hong Kong on April 1st. An uneasy way to begin the season of beginnings, to be sure.

May of 2019 is when things truly began to heat up, as the U.S. accused China of going back on their previous agreement. In which China responded accordingly, which triggered Trump to threaten $300 billion more in tariffs. May 21st: President Xi calls on the people of China to brace for the long haul in the trade war with the United States. Just in time for the U.S. to begin another $16 billion worth in tariffs.

From here on out it is publicity stunts and threats of more tariffs until Trump announces he might expedite the $300 billion tariff action. Hundreds of American companies traveled to D.C. to implore the president not to go through with this, but the plan was already in play. The domestic market panicked, but Trump announced plans to have a talk at the 2019 G20 summit (no doubt in an effort to calm the nerves of Wall Street).

July 31st, 2019: Following the G20 summit, all trade talks were announced to be postponed until September.

August 1st, 2019: President Trump announces full imposing on Chinese tariffs. The flame has been rekindled, with intention.

China threatened retaliation but America accused China of currency manipulation, which was not a ludicrous accusation. In retaliation China announced a halt on purchase of all American agricultural goods. An attempt to hit us in our weak point. At this point the center of focus was the Chinese tech giant (of whom many American companies rely upon) Huawei. With discussions of the ability for U.S. companies to deal with this corporation continued, the leaders decided to postpone the large portion of the tariffs until after the surge of business purchases for the holiday season (delayed until December 15th).

August 19th, 2019: Trump administration announces that all U.S. companies should begin searching for another manufacturing country outside of China, no matter where that may be. An ace has been played.


Since this moment trade talks have been halted. The big guns are starting to be drawn, and both us and China are feeling the pressure to make a move. What that next move will be, we can only wait to find out.

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