Igniting a U.S.-China Trade War

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In this episode, we analyze the origin and impact of a Sino-American trade war. As the trading relationship between Washington and Beijing spirals into conflict and protectionism, we are joined by two CSIS experts, Matthew Goodman, Simon Chair in Political Economy, and William Reinsch, Scholl Chair in International Business, to discuss what a trade war actually is, the impact of President Trump’s Section 232 tariffs, the types of tools China and the U.S. can use in this fight, and potential constraints on escalation. Matt and Bill also explain where this leaves the multilateral institutions that govern trade and project the likelihood of miscalculation on either side.

Then Dr. Scott Kennedy, director of the Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy at the CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies, bats cleanup to assess Section 301 penalties that President Trump has imposed, countermeasures from the Chinese leadership, and whether the U.S. and China are truly ready for a full-on trade conflict. Hosted by Will Colson. Audio edited by Ribka Gemilangsari. Written and produced by Jeffrey Bean.

To learn more, please see analysis from our experts:

A Better Way to Challenge China on Trade | Foreign Affairs by Matthew Goodman & Ely Ratner here.

Section 301, Tariffs, and Chinese Trade and Investment | CSIS by Stephanie Segal & William Reinsch here.

Surviving March Madness in U.S.-China Trade Relations | CSIS by Scott Kennedy here.

Is the U.S. Ready for a Trade War? | Yale Global by Scott Kennedy here.

The Shifting Politics of Trade | CSIS by William Reinsch here.

Finding the Right Off-ramp from the Trade War | CSIS by Claire Reade here.

To read the details of President Trump’s announcements on U.S. trade policy see Section 232 here, Section 301 here.
Scott Kennedy
Senior Adviser and Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics