Trade friction between China and the United States has been brewing for some time. But with the Trump administration's announcement of unilateral tariffs on imports, targeted at China, the spectre of a trade war has never been clearer.
There is broad political support in the United States for such measures. American businesses that had previously advocated China's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) now feel disadvantaged doing business in China. They feel, with some justification, that the playing field is uneven, market access is limited and investments are restricted, especially in the financial and technology sectors. Trade arrangements and concessions made in the past when China was about 5 per cent of the world's gross domestic product are less readily accepted today with China's share rising to 15 per cent.