US-China trade war in 10 dates

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Paris (AFP)

From hefty US taxes on steel and aluminium imports to the crisis with Chinese tech giant Huawei, here are 10 key dates in the ongoing US-China trade war.

- March 8, 2018: tax on steel, aluminium -

US President Donald Trump, who campaigned under the slogan "America First", announces tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium from a number of countries in a bid to slash the gaping US trade deficit.

The deficit reached $566 billion (507 billion euros) in 2017, of which $375 billion was with China, the world's biggest producer of steel and aluminium.

- March 22: China ripostes -

On the eve of the application of the tariffs, Trump suspends them for several countries, but not China.

Beijing responds with a list of 128 US products, including pork and fruit, on which it says it will impose customs duties of 15-25 percent if negotiations with Washington fail.

- April 3: new threats -

Washington issues a list of $50 billion in Chinese imports set to be targeted by US tariffs -- including electronics, aircraft parts and medicine -- as a response to alleged theft of US intellectual property.

Beijing responds with plans to hit imports of the same value, including soya, cars and aircraft.

- May 19: signs of appeasement -

The two countries announce a draft deal under which Beijing agrees to reduce its trade surplus "significantly".

In the following weeks China makes several conciliatory gestures, reducing customs duties on imports of cars, clothing, household goods, cosmetics and fish, lifting restrictions and offering to buy nearly $70 billion of extra US goods.

- July 6: trade war -

The United States nonetheless goes ahead and implements duties of 25 percent on about $34 billion in Chinese machinery, electronics and high-tech equipment.

Beijing in turn imposes tariffs of equal size and scope, including on farm produce, cars and marine products.

- August 23: escalation -

The United States imposes tariffs on another $16 billion of Chinese goods, a day after negotiations resume.

China applies 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion of US goods, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, bourbon and orange juice.

On September 24 Washington slaps 10 percent taxes on $200 billion of Chinese imports. Beijing puts customs duties on $60 billion of US goods.

- December 1: truce -

Trump and China leader Xi Jinping agree a ceasefire to the trade war. Washington suspends for three months a tariff increase from 10 to 25 percent due to begin January 1 on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

China agrees to purchase a "very substantial" amount of US products and also suspends extra tariffs added to US-made cars and auto parts for three months starting on January 1. It allows imports of American rice.

- May 10, 2019: hostilities resume -

Washington pulls the plug on the truce, increasing punitive duties on $200 billion in Chinese imports, raising them to 25 percent from 10 percent following two days of talks in Washington.

On May 13, Beijing announces it will raise tariffs on $60 billion in US exports from June 1.

- May 15: Huawei drawn in -

Trump opens a new front in the war, signing an order barring US companies from using foreign telecoms equipment deemed a security risk -- a move that appears aimed at Chinese giant Huawei.

The US Commerce Department also announces an effective ban on US companies selling or transferring US technology to Huawei.

Washington had previously stated concerns over an alleged spying threat from Huawei, a rapidly expanding leader in 5G technology.

On May 19, US internet giant Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers most of the world's smartphones, says it is beginning to cut ties with Huawei.

- May 20: 90-day reprieve -

Faced with concerns from users and US companies, US officials issue a 90-day reprieve on the ban on dealing with Huawei, saying breathing space is needed to avoid huge disruption.