Dissecting the numbers in the China-US trade relationship

World Today

A couple carries a paper bag containing goods purchased from American brand Champion past a bench painted with the U.S. flag at the capital city’s popular shopping mall in Beijing, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. U.S. and Chinese negotiators are meeting this week for their final trade talks before President Donald Trump decides whether to escalate a dispute over technology with a March 2 tariff hike on $200 billion of imports from China. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has hinted that a trade deal with China is not yet certain. Lighthizer testified before Congress and said implementing an agreement would be a long process.

Over the weekend, U.S. President Donald Trump pushed back a deadline for new tariffs on Chinese goods. At the heart of the matter is a trading relationship worth more than $635 billion. CGTN’s Gerald Tan explains some of the key numbers in this story.

The world’s two largest economies are locked in an all-out trade war. The big question: why? The latest annual figures help paint a picture.

In 2017, the United States imported $505.5 billion worth of goods from China. But it exported just $129.9 billion of goods to the Chinese market. From the U.S. perspective, this is accounts for a $375.6 billion deficit, that’s only growing.

Since coming into office, U.S. President Donald Trump has sought to right this imbalance, to tip the scale back, so to speak. His solution: tariffs.

Over three separate rounds, Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods totaling $253 billion covering everything from auto parts to electrical items. That’s not all. Trump then threatens to impose additional levies on $267 billion worth of Chinese goods. Essentially, this would cover everything imported from China.

In response, Beijing has introduced two rounds of tariffs. And they affect U.S. imports such as coal and soybeans amounting to $110 billion.

Right now, there’s a truce—both sides agreeing to freeze tariffs where they are. Trump has already said he is delaying a hike in U.S. tariffs, extending the 90-day cooling-off period agreed upon during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina.

Negotiators from these two economic titans are now trying to reach a deal to end what China has called “the largest trade war in economic history.”