Looming US-China trade wars risks leaving us all less prosperous

With the start date looming for American tariffs on Chinese goods, China and the US are on the brink of a £75 billion trade war, with profound implications for global prosperity.

A commentary for the The World Ahead: India and China programme

Published 11 Jun 2018

The latest round of talks ended without a breakthrough, and with a resolution seemingly far from sight. Whilst Beijing issued a tough warning to President Trump over impending tariffs on Chinese goods, the President responded to the issue on twitter, claiming “the US has been ripped off by other countries for years on trade, time to get smart!” China has however said it is willing to increase imports from other countries, including the US, presenting itself as the voice of free trade and challenging the US “America first” rhetoric.

The continuing dispute is bad news for both nations, and for the rest of the world. In March, WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo warned that a fully-fledged trade war between China and the US would have “a severe impact on the global economy”, and that there was a risk global growth could fall “very quickly” as a result. Increasing economic openness has already lifted billions out of poverty. Today, this openness is more important than ever before, with many nations confronted by an array of economic challenges, from growing inequality to increasing protectionism.