Talking Points:

- The key issue of US-China trade tensions is how quickly China is moving towards a market-oriented economy.

- 2006 was a turning point for trade relations when the USbelieved China’s market liberalization slowed.

- Measures introduced by China between 2016 and 2017 rekindled concerns by the US, landing us in the situation we find the two countries in today.

This article was originally published on March 31, 2018.

The Fundamental Question Underpinning US-China Trade

Even since US President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, the US and China have had a long history of trade disputes. More recently, since 2001 when China became member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the US and its Western allies have been pressuring China to reform its trade regime, a process known as trade liberalization.

In particular, the US has pushed for liberalizationin areas such as intellectual property rights, industrial policies, agriculture practices and legal framework; much of these efforts are still on-going today. The fundamental underlying issue that divides the two countries is the process and speed by which China moves from a state-led economy to a market-oriented economy.



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