President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE’s trade war with China is approaching the one-year mark, with no end in sight.
The two countries appeared close to a deal just a week ago after months of negotiations and reciprocal tariffs. But Trump ordered a steep increase in tariffs on Chinese goods after top Beijing officials reportedly backtracked on previous agreements with the White House.
The U.S. economy and Trump’s reelection campaign could face serious consequences if Washington and Beijing can’t resolve their trade spat. But the president said Friday there is “no need to rush” a trade deal with China.
He later added that he is prepared to wait out Chinese President Xi Jinping until China delivers on key concessions.
Here are five things to know about the U.S.-China trade war.
Tariffs cover roughly half of Chinese exports to the U.S.
American retailers and manufacturers rely on a steady stream of consumer goods, food products, technology and parts from China, purchasing $535.5 billion in Chinese imports last year.
Trump has sought to pressure China to strike a deal by imposing tariffs on almost half of those imports. The U.S. has increased import taxes and broadened their scope since levying a 25 percent tariff in July on $50 billion of Chinese goods, mainly industrial parts, tools and electrical products.
The next move by the Trump administration, in September, consisted of a 10 percent tariff on another $200 billion in Chinese exports. Those tariffs jumped to 25 percent on Friday morning, for a wide array of food products, chemicals, clothing, accessories, toiletries and basic consumer goods.
Trump has threatened to impose a 25 percent tariff on the roughly $335 billion in Chinese products not yet taxed by the U.S. Such a move would affect almost every aspect of the economy and provoke a harsh response from Beijing in struggling U.S. sectors.
Farmers are in Beijing's crosshairs
China imports much less from the United States than it exports, purchasing just $120.3 billion in American products last year. But the country's tight grip on the U.S. agricultural economy is a key source of leverage in trade talks, and a likely target for another round of retaliatory tariffs.
China has responded to Trump’s tariffs by targeting major U.S. crops and agricultural products like soybeans, pork, corn, wheat and beef. The tariffs from China have put an enormous economic burden on farmers and ranchers already struggling to overcome plunging commodity prices and severe weather.
The administration has sought to limit that damage by sending $12 billion in aid to those harmed by tariffs, and may soon offer more. But agriculture advocates say tariffs from China and other nations in trade conflicts with the U.S. could cost farms crucial foreign contracts for years to come.
Economic risks deepen as tariffs increase
Expanding and increasing tariffs on Chinese goods would raise costs in almost every sector of the U.S. economy, particularly since import taxes are paid by U.S. purchasers of foreign products, not the country of origin.
Higher taxes on a broader group of goods would likely raises prices on basic food products, household goods and apparel. American manufacturers, meanwhile, would find themselves in a position where they have to pay more for certain parts from China, adding to pressure for them to counter those costs by boosting prices for their products.
Fitch Ratings warned Thursday that higher tariffs on Chinese goods could lead to lower revenue for U.S. companies, though low inflation and a strong domestic economy could help cushion the blow.
Economists with Japanese bank Nomura projected Friday that U.S. tariffs on all Chinese goods could trim 0.4 percentage point from gross domestic product this year.
Other conflicts with China complicate trade talks
The trade war is only one source of major tension between the U.S. and China.
The Trump administration has imposed harsh penalties on several Chinese companies and nationals accused of violating economic sanctions on North Korea as it seeks to cut off financial support for North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnSatellite photos indicate North Korea expanding uranium enrichment The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - What do Manchin and Sinema want? North Korea says recent missiles were test of 'railway-borne' system MORE's government.
The U.S. and China have also battled over the treatment of major Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE, which Washington suspects of aiding Beijing's intelligence operations.
There’s also growing anger among U.S. lawmakers who have blasted China’s detention of millions of Uyghurs, a Muslim minority group, in internment camps.
White House officials have sought to isolate trade talks from the administration’s various other disagreements with China. But lawmakers in both parties have called for a harsher crackdown on China for those problematic behaviors.
"I don't think the Trump administration is putting enough pressure on China,” said Rep. Andy BarrAndy BarrRepublicans press Biden administration to maintain sanctions against Taliban World Bank suspends aid to Afghanistan after Taliban takeover GOP lawmaker aims to block Taliban from accessing international funds MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday. “What I'd like to see the administration do is sanction Chinese banks that are circumventing North Korean sanctions.”
Republicans are losing patience with Trump’s trade battles
The president's trade policy makes him an outlier among Republicans, who are typically averse to tariffs and in favor of free trade. While many members of his party share Trump’s concerns with China, Republicans say they are deeply worried about the domestic impact of tariffs.
Adding to the pressure is the mounting cost of Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum and retaliatory tariffs from allies like Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
GOP lawmakers from agricultural states have warned Trump about the heavy toll of his trade policy on farmers. Some senators are proposing limits on his tariff power, while others have implored him to quickly cement a deal with China.
"The way you deal with that is not using a tit-for-tat tariff war," said Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdFirst Democrat jumps into key Texas House race to challenge Gonzales Will the real Lee Hamiltons and Olympia Snowes please stand up? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Congress drawn into pipeline cyberattack, violence in Israel MORE (R-Texas) on CNN's "New Day."
“It’s going to be more expensive for Americans to buy products,” he said.