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This year we've seen an unprecedented trade war kick off between China and the United States with US President Donald Trump imposing punitive tariffs on China in order to force the country to change its trading ways. Beijing has retaliated with its own tariffs on American goods coming into China.
And this has led to what could become the biggest disruption in global trade in decades. I'm Tony Munroe, Reuters Greater China bureau chief, based here in Beijing. We have, of course, seen trade wars before. It's not a new phenomenon. What's new here is the scale and the scope of this dispute.
These are the world's two biggest economies. These are economies that are very closely linked with each other. But really it's also about how China does business, things like IP protection and state support. For industry, that kind of thing which the US increasingly takes issue with. So it's really a multi dimensional story and really with just a lot of twists and turns.
You have had especially at the beginning of this trade dispute some mixed messages coming from members of the Trump White House. At one point during the summer, it looked as if there was a deal. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He travelled to Washington and struck what appeared to be an agreement with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, only for Trump to cancel it.
President Trump and President Xi had their now historic steak dinner at the G20 in Buenos Aires. And what they agreed was a 90 day pause, or truce, in the trade war. 90 days is not a lot of time for the two sides to resolve what are some pretty deep disagreements.
There is certainly concern that if these tariffs persist, and indeed, if they increase in the new year. If the tariffs on 200 billion goods imported from China now at 10%, escalate to 25%, well, that is going to have a significant impact on global trade and the economy. So there remains a lot that's unresolved between China and the US.
And this whole story promises to remain in the news well into 2019.