The trade war between the US and China has been an escalating series of tit-for-tat tariffs, and then some.

Why Trump officials don’t want to cut tariffs on Chinese medical supplies
Hardliners within the Trump administration are trying desperately to avoid reducing tariffs on imported medical supplies from China, hoping to stave off mounting pressure from health care workers and a panicked public as the coronavirus death toll mounts. After an extended US-China trade war and President Donald Trump’s signing of an initial agreement in December, hawks within the administration are loath to set a precedent.  Their concern is that emergency concessions could undercut their hawkish trade stance toward Beijing, which Trump sees as a cornerstone accomplishment leading up to the November elections, say former officials and analysts. “There will be inexorable pressure to relax t
US needs more guns and friends to counter China, Pentagon official says
The United States must prepare for a possible military conflict with China, including by developing new weapons and strengthening ties with allies, a senior Trump administration official said on Thursday. In remarks that underscored growing competition between the US government and an increasingly powerful Chinese military, Chad Sbragia, deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, said the Pentagon needs to “build and deploy a more lethal, resilient joint force.”  That includes more hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, robots and laser weapons, Sbragia told the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was set up by Congress in 2000 to evaluate the defense implicat
Global trade was breaking down. Then came the coronavirus
The still-evolving coronavirus outbreak has already disrupted trade and economic performance both regionally and globally. Perhaps the most insidious impact of the virus stems from China’s pre-eminent position as a producer of intermediary products that feed into global supply chains. China accounts for almost one-fifth of world manufacturing and Chinese intermediary products are predominant in the electronics, car, machinery and textile sectors. Subtracting Chinese inputs from these supply chains will, in some instances, cause production to grind to a halt, as has been the case for Hyundai Motor in South Korea. In other instances, alternative or workaround solutions will be found but they w
Arrest of Harvard professor rattles science world
The Trump administration is adopting increasingly aggressive tactics in its bid to counter Chinese theft of trade secrets with the arrest of a prominent Harvard professor and high-profile investigations into top universities. The move against one of the nation’s foremost scientists – Charles Lieber, chairman of the Harvard chemistry department – and the threat of criminal charges against Harvard, Yale and other prestigious universities over reporting violations has sent shock waves through the scientific establishment. Unlike many other recent cases involving scientists of Chinese descent, Lieber is Caucasian. He and leading universities are also being accused of failing to disclose ties to
Did the US overreact to the coronavirus outbreak?
The outbreak of a new coronavirus in China has added a new and intensifying source of tension to an already fractured relationship with the United States. With threats to public health, transport and the global economy looming, it was no surprise that the two countries would clash as the epidemic that apparently started at a seafood and live animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan spread to the US, among other countries. But the mysteries of a coronavirus that jumps species to find a home in humans – also known as a zoonotic disease – has opened a new, acrimonious rip into bilateral ties that were already tearing apart. It has pitted science against politics. Amid confusion among
Science, espionage and paranoia in US-China relations
A smartly dressed Chinese man was spotted in a field in rural Iowa, in the United States, in autumn 2011. This was enough to raise suspicion in a community that was 97% white and the local police went to check it out. Thus began perhaps one of the stranger cases of industrial espionage in recent years, one that highlights the threat of industrial theft and the overblown atmosphere of fear and mistrust that exists between the United States and China over intellectual property and trade. The field in question was planted with genetically modified seed lines developed by agricultural giant Monsanto, a company that guards its intellectual property – like hybrid seeds and fertilizer – with great
Mastercard can finally set up shop in China
Mastercard has won Chinese government approval to enter China’s payments market. It’s a major step in the American company’s decades-long effort to reach the country’s 400 million middle-class consumers. China’s central bank on Tuesday said it had approved an application from Mastercard’s joint venture to set up a business to settle payments in yuan, the official Chinese currency. Beijing has long insisted on state control of key financial infrastructure despite Washington’s insistence on giving American companies wider access to the Chinese market. The approval by China was granted three weeks after Beijing and Washington signed their initial trade deal, in which China promised it would fur
Pompeo calls Chinese Communist Party ‘central threat of our times’
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China’s ruling party the “central threat of our times,” as he sought to convince allies to push back against Beijing’s growing influence. The top American diplomat made the declaration in London after the United Kingdom defied US pressure in approving limited use of Huawei equipment in its next-generation, or 5G, wireless network. The Trump administration has called on its European allies to join the United States in banning the Chinese telecoms giant, accusing the company of being a security threat. Western allies must “ensure that the next century is governed by … Western democratic principles,” Pompeo said during a joint appearance with British For
Melting sea ice is opening a new frontier in US-China rivalry
As declining sea ice threatens to disrupt the main habitat for polar bears, the United States and China see a once-in-a-lifetime opening. A decrease in Arctic summer sea ice could turn previously frozen sea lanes into “the 21s century Suez and Panama Canals,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in May 2019. But the possibility of faster and cheaper shipping between Asia and Europe through the Arctic has also pitted the US against a rising China eager to expand its global influence. A year before Pompeo spoke of leveraging the Arctic in his speech in Finland, Beijing announced a policy to include the polar region in its Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious effort to build land and mariti
‘Basically like a poison’: the Chinese alchemists behind America’s drug crisis
The first time Alan, 32 and living in Texas, smoked the drug he bought online from China, he thought he would die.  He mixed a tiny amount of the powder, similar to the size of an eyelash, with dried plant leaves, smoked the concoction and immediately started losing control of his body. “I got sick. I was puking all over the place,” the 30-year-old recalled on the phone. “I kind of passed out. I blacked out, and in my mind I kind of had a death trip experience where I thought that I had died.” Even before the overdose, Alan, who is self-employed, had a dependence on synthetic cannabinoids, which are lab-made compounds created to mimic the effects and structure of THC in cannabis. Today, ther