U.S. - China Trade War – 6847

Spring 2022

This course will examine U.S.-China economic conflict over the last five years, often referred to as a trade war, including restrictions on the exchange of goods, services, investment, technology, and software. The course will focus on U.S. restrictions on imports from and exports to China that have been imposed over the last five years. To a lesser extent, we will also look at China’s actions to restrict U.S. access to the Chinese market, protect (or take, in some cases) U.S. intellectual property, and to block U.S. investment in China.

The U.S. economic relationship with China has drastically changed over the last five years. To date, the Biden Administration has continued many of the policies implemented by the Trump Administration with respect to China. In the near term, economic friction between China and the United States is certain. Over the long term, although the precise points of conflict will change, it seems likely that economic conflict between the two countries will continue. 

This seminar will use the conflict to examine key legal elements of U.S. trade and investment policy. In particular, this seminar will examine:

  • What is the “trade war” and what U.S. and Chinese policies does it include?
  • What are the origins and impacts of the trade war?
  • What legal, political, and economic factors contribute to the trade war?
  • What “off-ramps” exist to de-escalate the conflict?

Although we will focus on legal developments relating to the trade war, we will also discuss diplomatic, economic, and political considerations driving economic conflict between the countries. This course will, therefore, examine a host of legal and policy issues.

This course will be a combination of lectures, guests with subject-matter expertise on the trade war, and discussions with classmates about key topics.