News analysis

US-China trade war: Much pain, little gain

Collision of commerce, politics makes a deal increasingly hard to achieve, say trade experts

When Mr Stephen Olson began his career as a US trade negotiator in the 1980s, the subject of trade was an arcane one.

It was the domain of number-crunchers, concerned with lowering sky-high tariff levels post-World War II, on such obscure items as industrial pumps. This was boring stuff, said Mr Olson, joking that speaking about his work at dinner parties was a surefire way to bring gatherings to a close.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2019, with the headline 'US-China trade war: Much pain, little gain'. Print Edition | Subscribe