Trade War Current Affairs - 2020

US Consulate of Chengdu, China closed

On July 27, 2020, the United States Consulate in Chengdu city of China was closed in response to the closure of Chinese consulate in Houston.

Highlights

The Chengdu consulate was an important outpost for the US as it covered a large swath of the country including controversial autonomous region of Tibet. The consulate was opened by the then Vice President George Bush in 1985.

US-China Tensions

The ongoing trade war between US and China has strained the tensions between US and China. The relations have deteriorated further recently after guilty plea of Singaporean national who admitted spying in the US for China.

Background

US and China are the most powerful economies in the world. In 1984, US became the third largest trading partner of China. The issues between US and China increased after China joining the World Trade Organization. After signing US-China Relations Act of 2000, China could join the WTO. China was then given the status of Most Favoured Nation in 2001.

After joining WTO, China began to violate WTO rules, especially by lowering tariffs to 10% by 2005. This affected US trade with other countries as several countries preferred China to the US for its lower tariffs. In 2018, Trump administration announced tariffs on solar panels and washing machines. This was when the trade war began between US and China.

US joins G7 partnership on Artificial Intelligence

The Leaders of Group of the seven wealthiest countries in the world had set up Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence.

Highlights

The United States was not a part of the partnership initially. However, US is now joining the group to counter Chinese dominance in shaping international standards on surveillance and facial recognition at the United Nations.

The initiative to launch a global group on Artificial Intelligence was initiated by France and Canada.

US on the partnership

The US initially objected G7 partnership on AI claiming that focusing too much on regulation of AI would hamper innovation. It is important for the US to join the partnership as there are several tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Apple that contribute significant amount to the GDP of US. Also, the international standards set will affect these companies greatly. Therefore, it is important for the US to join the partnership.

G7

The Group of 7 or G7 is an intergovernmental economic organization that consists of world’s largest economies such as France, Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan, UK and US. The group has more than 46% of global GDP.