The trade war between the United States and China started in mid-2018 when the US President Donald Trump unilaterally increased tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, and China retaliated.
President Trump has been complaining about the trading practices of the People’s Republic of China even before he took office in 2016. In 2017, the investigation into the Chinese trading practices began, soon resulting in the US Trade Representative stating that those practices were limiting the exports of the United States.
The US then imposed the tariffs on Chinese goods, but China soon hit back with their own tariffs on the US. The Chinese retaliation represented increased tariffs on $110 billion worth of the US goods. It mainly targeted medical equipment, coal, and chemicals, but also various other products produced in US districts.
In December 2018, both the US and China agreed to sit down for peace talks. However, the hope for finalizing the trade war may have been diminished recently, as the US has raised the tariffs once again. They increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, and recently President Trump threatened to “shortly” impose additional tariffs on $325 billion worth of Chinese products.
However, despite all the tariff increases, China’s trade surplus with the US rose in April 2019 to $21.01 billion, as its imports started rising. Nevertheless, only time will tell how and when this “biggest trade war in economic history” will come to a close.