3 unexpected consequences of the US-China trade war

yuan

(Eric Prouzet, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Emma Charlton, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Almost 10,000 kilometres separate the winemakers in California’s Napa Valley and consumers in Beijing.

Even so, they’re both affected by the trade war between the two largest economies in the world. The stand-off began last year, when the US brought in tariffs on washing machines and solar cell imports. Since then, trade relations have been on something of a roller coaster, appearing to deteriorate in recent weeks, although discussions ahead of the G20 indicate that a resolution could be close.

While some of the implications of the dispute are obvious – US tariffs on imported steel and aluminium hit China, since it’s the world’s largest steel exporter – there are some unforeseen side-effects in today’s hyper-connected economy.

Image: Statista

1. The trade war has given wine-makers a bitter taste

China’s wine importers and US exporters will be hit, according to Reuters. Additional tariffs on American wines mean there’s no wiggle room for importers, that story said.

US wine exports to China were $59 million in 2018, down 13% in volume and slumping almost 25% in value compared to 2017, according to the Wine Institute.

2. Chinese tourists are avoiding the United States

More than 10,000 kilometers away in China, the trade tensions also seem to be affecting how and where people are choosing to travel, which could dent the US tourism industry significantly, according to research firm, ForwardKeys.

The research from 2018 showed that the biggest impact was on bookings for group travel of six or more passengers from China to the US, which fell more than 30% in 2018 compared with 2017.

The trade war’s impact on Chinese tourism to the US.
Image: ForwardKeys

“Our findings strongly suggest that President Trump’s trade war has had a significant impact on Chinese tourism to the US,” said ForwardKeys CEO and co-founder Olivier Jager. “It is unquestionable that the Chinese appetite for visiting the US is diminishing and that is bound to worry the US travel industry.”

3. Your operating system

Tech giant Huawei Technologies confirmed it has built its own operating system in case the trade tensions interfere with its use of Google’s Android system.

While the company says it doesn’t want to shift away from Android and only plans to use its own operating system in “extenuating circumstances,” an escalation in the stand-off between China and the US could force its hand. And that could disrupt the role Apple and Google play in running operating systems worldwide.

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