The trade war is on: Timeline of how we got here and what's next

The trade dispute between the US and China continues.

Chinese officials have announced retaliation following US President Donald Trump’s authorisation of a new round of tariffs on an additional $200bn of Chinese goods, a move that brought the total amount targeted by the US in recent months to $250bn.

Here’s a timeline of major developments this year - in reverse chronological order - and also the main dates of coming events.

September 18 - China announces retaliation on $60bn of US goods to become effective simultaneously with the US duties.

September 17 - US announces 10% tariff on $200bn of Chinese exports effective September 24 until the end of 2018, to rise to 25% afterward. Smart watches and a few other items from the preliminary list are exempted. 

September 6 - End of comment period for tariffs on $200bn of Chinese exports. China’s retaliation might begin immediately after the US action.

August 23 - Tariffs on $16bn of Chinese imports to begin. Chinese retaliation of tariffs on $16bn of US exports to begin.

August 3 - China announces a list of $60bn worth of US imports it plans to apply tariffs on should the Trump administration follow through with higher tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods.

August 2 - US Trade Representative confirms that President Trump is considering increasing proposed tariff on $200bn of Chinese imports to 25% from 10%.    

July 31 - China, US reported to be trying to restart trade talks.

July 26 - Qualcomm decides to scrap a $44bn takeover of NXP Semiconductors, because China didn’t sign off as time expired.

July 20 - Trump says he’s "ready to go" with tariffs on $500bn of Chinese imports.    

July 11 - The USTR releases a list of $200bn of Chinese goods it plans to impose an extra 10% tariffs on. 

July 6 - Tariffs on $34bn of imports begin. Tariffs on $34bn of imports begin.

July 6 - ZTE receives limited authorisation to resume business.    

July 3 - US computer chip company Micron Technology ordered to halt sales in China.

June 27 - Trump agrees to less aggressive option to limit Chinese investment in the US.    

June 21 -  President Xi Jinping says China will hit back if struck, according to the Wall Street Journal, and criticises US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling Chinese claims of economic openness "a joke".

June 20 - White House releases report accusing China of threatening US interests.  

June 19 - Trump says US looking to put tariffs on another $200bn of Chinese exports, with another $200bn after that if China retaliates.  

June 18 - Pompeo calls Chinese claims of economic openness "a joke".    

June 15 - US announces tariffs on $50bn of imports from China, with Trump threatening more if China retaliates. China responds in kind.

June 15 - Qualcomm’s takeover of NXP Semiconductors is said to be approved by Chinese regulators, although a later report contradicts this.

June 15 - Pompeo meets Xi, discussing trade and security.  

June 7 - Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announces deal allowing ZTE to get back into business.   

June 6 - China said to offer to buy $25bn more of US goods in 2018.

June 3 -  China says previous offers and deals are off if tariffs imposed.

June 2 to 4 - Wilbur Ross, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He meet in Beijing for talks.  

May 30 - China announces cuts to tariffs on some consumer goods, to start July 1.

May 29 - US announces plan to limit some visas for Chinese citizens to protect intellectual property.    

May 29 - US announces that it’s moving ahead with tariffs on $50bn of imports and a plan to curb investment in sensitive technology.

May 29 - China said to be considering buying more US coal to narrow trade deficit.

May 28 - At the WTO, US accuses China of imposing laws that result in the theft of US tech and IP.      

May 28 - China ready to approve Qualcomm/NXP deal if it gets assurances that the US will lift ban on ZTE.

May 28 - US said to be pressing China to sign long-term import contracts.

May 25 - US announces a $1.3bn fine and other punishments for ZTE, but will allow company to resume purchasing from American suppliers.    

May 23 - Trump backs away from the previous day’s deal, saying US will "probably have to use a different structure." 

May 22 - China will cut import duties on cars to 15% from 25%.

May 22 - Two nations agree on  the "broad outline" of a settlement for ZTE dispute, the WSJ reports. China offered to remove tariffs on US farm products as part of the deal.

May 21 - Trump tweets that China will buy "massive amounts of additional farm/agricultural products."  

May 20 - Both nations reach an agreement and issue a joint statement. The US agrees to hold off on tariffs. China offers to significantly increase purchases of US goods.

May 18 - China ends anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation into sorghum.

May 17 - Talks start in Washington.  

May 14 - China is said to restart review of Qualcomm’s proposed NXP deal.

May 13 - Trump tweets that he’s working with Xi to get ZTE "back into business." 

May 10 - ZTE ceases major operations in the US.

May 3 to 4 - Trade talks in Beijing. No agreement is reached, and no statement is released. US demands a $200bn cut in trade deficit.   China protests over ZTE case, demands end of 301 investigation.

April 28 - China objects to being on US intellectual property watch list.

April 27 - US keeps China on IP priority watch list of nations.  

April 26 - Reported that China may cut car import tariffs by half.

April 26 - Reported that US looking into China’s Huawei for possible violation of sanctions against Iran.

April 17 - China announces it will collect anti-dumping tariffs on sorghum imports from the US, a trade worth about $1bn in 2017.

April 16 - US penalises China’s ZTE for violating a previous agreement punishing it for doing business with Iran and North Korea. The company is banned from buying US technology for seven years.    

April 10 - Xi  promises to open up various sectors including autos and finance.

April 5 - Trump issues statement that says “in light of China’s unfair retaliation” for his initial tariffs, his administration will consider an addition $100bn in tariffs.    

April 5 - China complains to the World Trade Organisation about US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

April 4 - US responds to China’s WTO complaint on the section 301 tariffs, calling it baseless.

April 4 - China complains to WTO about the section 301 tariff action by the US.

April 4 - China says it will levy an additional 25% tariff on imports of 106 US products including soybeans, automobiles, chemicals and aircraft, in response to proposed American duties on its high-tech goods.

April 3 - The US releases a list dominated by high-tech industrial products as targets for proposed tariffs on $50bn worth of imports. This is aimed at recouping losses from China’s alleged abuse of intellectual property.    

April 2 - China says it will start levying tariffs on $3bn of US imports including fresh fruits, nuts, wine and pork.

Early April - Liu He tells other officials that trade talks between the two parties broke down after the US demanded that China curtail support for high-technology industries. Beijing had offered to cut the bilateral trade deficit by $50bn.

March 27 - US releases Section 301 report on China.    

March 23 - China unveils tariffs on $3bn of US imports in response to steel and aluminium tariffs.

March 23 - US complains to WTO about Chinese protection of IP.    

March 22 - US proposes tariffs in response to China’s "unfair trade practices" related to technology transfer, IP, and innovation; says it will complain to WTO and look at restricting investment from China.     

March 9 - Trump signs tariffs on imported steel and aluminium from all nations, including China.  

February 4 - China starts a one-year anti-subsidy investigation into sorghum imported from the US.

January 22 - US imposes safeguard tariffs on washing machine and solar cell imports. While much of these imports don’t come from China, the statement makes clear that Chinese dominance of the global supply chain was a concern.   

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