The Trump administration and the Chinese government restart trade talks Monday as they scramble to strike a new deal before a March 2 deadline.
Washington and Beijing hope to stop a potentially ruinous trade war as concerns grow about China’s economy and its effect on American companies. The U.S. delegation to the discussions, slated for Monday and Tuesday in Beijing, will include officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, along with representatives of the Agriculture, Energy, Commerce and Treasury Departments.
The U.S. has already put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods — and has threatened duties on double that value of products. Beijing has responded with tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. goods targeting politically important industries such as agriculture.
After a December meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the leaders of the world’s two largest economies agreed to a temporary truce while they sought an agreement within three months. Trump said he would not carry out a planned increase in the tariff rate on $200 billion in goods to 25 percent from 10 percent. The March deadline is based on the meeting between the two leaders and could easily slip.
Trump, who campaigned in 2016 on cracking down on what he called Chinese trade abuses, has a specific set of demands for the talks. He wants to address alleged Chinese theft of intellectual property, forced technology transfers, ownership of American companies in China, and tariffs and nontariff barriers, among other issues.
The White House has shown optimism. But Washington and Beijing appear to have a difficult task in striking a concrete trade agreement even as Trump seeks a political win on one of his signature issues.
Here is a timeline of the U.S.-China trade conflict during the Trump era that led up to the talks, and the products the tariffs have affected so far: