Graphic: Tough talk on trade

President Donald Trump’s efforts to change the dynamics of trade with China have so far focused on protecting U.S. heavy industry, technology and intellectual property. He’s proposed tariffs on $100 billion worth of imports. China responded with its own measures to tax imports, mainly U.S. agricultural products.
Growing deficit: The U.S. trade deficit with China was about $375 billion at the end of 2017, and has been growing at an average 4% per year. Such a gap should be expected between the world’s largest producer and its largest consumer.
High volume: One-fifth of all Chinese exports go to the U.S., with a similar percentage of U.S. imports coming from China. While China has regional partnerships, the U.S. has stronger ties with neighbors that could absorb demand for U.S. goods.
Standoff? China holds $1.2 trillion in U.S. Treasuries. Selling a portion of that could devalue the Treasury market and the dollar and drive up rates. However, doing so would also devalue its own portfolio and its foreign reserve holdings.
A lot to lose: So far China is targeting U.S. agricultural imports. China imports about 14% of what the U.S. exports. Less demand would drive up supply, a blow to producers as profits are already tight.
Sources: Bloomberg LP, U.S. Census Bureau