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PARIS: Here are 10 key dates in the  16-month-long trade battle between the United States and China.

 

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

==========================================

 

President Donald Trump announces tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium from a number of countries in a bid to slash the huge US trade deficit.

The deficit reached $566 billion 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 on which it says it will impose customs duties of 15-25 percent if negotiations with Washington fail.

 

- 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, lifting restrictions and offering to buy extra US goods.

 

- July 6: trade war -

=====================

 

The United States nonetheless slaps 25-percent duties on about $34 billion of Chinese imports, including cars, hard disks and aircraft parts.

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

 

- August 23: escalation -

=========================

 

Washington 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 -

=====================

 

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 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.

 

- May 15: Huawei drawn in -

===========================

 

Trump signs an order barring US companies from using foreign telecoms equipment deemed a security risk -- a move aimed at Chinese giant Huawei.

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

On May 20, the US issues a 90-day reprieve on the ban.

 

- June 29: negotiations 'back on' -

===================================

 

At the G20 in Osaka, Trump and President Xi Jinping strike a trade war ceasefire, with Washington vowing to hold off on further tariffs and Trump declaring trade negotiations "back on track".

US and Chinese negotiators meet in Shanghai on July 30 and 31 for "constructive" and "frank" talks, and agree to continue discussions in September.

 

- August 1: new US sanctions -

==============================

 

Accusing Beijing of reneging on promises to buy US agricultural products and stop the sale of the opioid fentanyl, Trump announces he will hit China with punitive 10 percent tariffs on another $300 billion in goods from September 1.

It means virtually all of the $660 billion in annual trade between the world's two biggest economies will be subject to duties.

Trump also raises the possibility of increasing the tariffs "to well beyond 25 percent", but says the September talks should go ahead.

Beijing threatens counter-measures.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Press), 2019