An analysis of the China–US trade war through the lens of the trade literature

Larry D. QIU*, Chaoqun ZHAN, Xing WEI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The current China–US trade war that started in early 2018 has been the largest of this kind in the global market in the past half century, if not longer. Many speculations about the reasons for and progress and potential implications of the trade war emerge. Countries must understand the reasons for the war to avoid future trade wars. Predicting what will happen in the near future and the related economic consequences are even more important for people (including businessmen and government policymakers) to prepare for them and make corresponding decisions. However, endeavouring to predict is a tough job. This paper tries to provide an unbiased analysis through the lens of the trade literature. That is, we want to ask how much we can understand the current trade war on the basis of the accumulated knowledge we can obtain from our profession. Related theories include imperfect competition, increasing returns, terms of trade argument, distributional effects and political economy argument.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-168
Number of pages21
JournalEconomic and Political Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • China–US trade
  • trade policy
  • trade theories
  • Trade war

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