US-China relations under Trump: A timeline

US-China ties have worsened dramatically over the last two years.
US-China ties have worsened dramatically over the last two years.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A United States demand that China shut its Houston consulate is the latest chapter in a dramatic worsening of ties between the world's two biggest economies over the last two years.

Here is a timeline of some key developments:

2018

- Jan 22: US President Donald Trump imposes tariffs on all imported washing machines and solar panels, including those from China.

- March 8: Mr Trump orders 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium from all suppliers including China.

- April 2: China imposes tariffs of up to 25 per cent on 128 US products, including airplanes and soybeans.

- April 3: Mr Trump unveils plans for 25 per cent tariffs on about US$50 billion (S$69.3 billion) of Chinese imports.

- Aug 22: A New York court issues an arrest warrant for Meng Wanzhou, chief executive of telecoms equipment company Huawei Technologies, to stand trial in the US.

- Sept 24: 10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports kick in. The administration says the rate will increase to 25 per cent on Jan 1, 2019. China taxes US$60 billion of US goods.

- Dec 7: Court proceedings show the US has issued an arrest warrant for Meng, as it believes she covered up attempts by Huawei-linked companies to sell equipment to Iran, breaking US sanctions against the country.

2019

- Aug 1: Mr Trump announces 10 per cent tariffs on US$300 billion in Chinese imports, after two days of talks with no progress.

- Aug 5: China halts purchases of US agricultural products, and the Chinese renminbi weakens past the key seven per dollar level. The US Treasury says China is manipulating its currency.

- Aug 13: Mr Trump postpones some of the 10 per cent tariffs on the US$300 billion goods list until Dec 15.

- Aug 23: China announces additional retaliatory tariffs on about US$75 billion worth of US goods.

- Sept 20: US Trade Representative issues tariff exclusions on about 400 Chinese products.

- Oct 7: The US Commerce Department puts 28 Chinese companies on its "entity list", restricting the sale of US goods and technology to them over their alleged involvement in human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. China says the US should stop interfering in its affairs.

- Oct 11: After two days of high-level talks, Mr Trump announces a phase one deal that includes suspension of planned tariffs and a Chinese pledge to buy more farm goods.

2020

- Jan 11: A 61-year-old Chinese man is reported to have died in Wuhan from what preliminary lab tests cited by Chinese state media suggest is a new type of coronavirus.

- Jan 27: The US warns against travel to China, a day after five people who had been in Wuhan became the first confirmed cases in America.

- Feb 1: The US, Singapore, Russia and Australia ban foreign travellers who were recently in China.

- March 17: China withdraws the press credentials of American journalists at three US newspapers.

- May 28: China's Parliament overwhelmingly approves imposing national security legislation on Hong Kong to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference. Mr Trump orders his administration to begin the process of eliminating special US treatment for Hong Kong, but stops short of calling an immediate end to privileges that have helped the territory remain a global financial centre.

- June 22: The US says it will start treating four major Chinese media outlets as foreign embassies, alleging they are mouthpieces for Beijing. The designation requires the outlets to inform the US State Department of their personnel rosters and real-estate holdings.

- July 1: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls Hong Kong law an affront to all nations and says Washington will pursue Mr Trump's directive to end the territory's special status.

- July 1: China asks four US media organisations to submit details about their operations in the country in what it describes as retaliation for US measures against Chinese media outlets.

- July 13: The US rejects China's claims to offshore resources in most of the South China Sea, drawing criticism from China, which says the US position raises tension in the region. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam challenge China's claim to about 90 per cent of the sea.

- July 22: The US tells China to close its consulate in Houston, and a source says Beijing is considering shutting the US consulate in Wuhan in retaliation.

- July 23: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accuses the Chinese consulate in Houston of being a spying hub of "intellectual property theft" and calls on US allies to pressure China.