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The US-China Trade War: Will There Be A Phase Two?

Shortly before the coronavirus became global news, the United States and China declared a truce in their trade war. Although early skirmishes over steel tariffs broke out early in the Trump presidency, the trade war only really started in earnest in June 2019. That’s when the United States levied its first broad-based tariffs on Chinese imports. Just six months later, the armistice was announced.

The details of the ‘Phase One’ trade deal between the United States and China make interesting reading – for those who enjoy that sort of thing. Donald Trump got what he wanted most: a purchase order for American exports that he can take out and wave in the air throughout the 2020 election campaign. It is highly unlikely that China will actually be able to buy all the American stuff they have committed to purchasing, but that’s an issue for after the election. For now, the paper promise will do.

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Sydney-based globalization expert Salvatore Babones is available to speak on the Chinese economy (demographics, growth, technology), the Belt & Road Initiative, global trade networks, and Australia-China relations. Contact: