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Economics

Trump’s China Scorecard Has Many Defeats, and One Big Change

  • Manufacturing job growth stalled when Trump waged trade war
  • Negative views of China rose 20 percentage points under Trump
Donald Trump, then running for president, detailed his trade agenda in a Monessen, Pennsylvania, speech on June 28, 2016.
Donald Trump, then running for president, detailed his trade agenda in a Monessen, Pennsylvania, speech on June 28, 2016.Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg
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President Donald Trump ran for office pledging to rewrite the U.S. economic relationship with China, which he blamed for hollowing out America’s manufacturing base and impoverishing its workers. His four years in the White House have shown limited impact on the metrics he laid out.

American companies cite much the same concerns -- and the same growth objectives -- with regard to China today as they did when Trump took office. The unprecedented trade war he launched, breaking Republican free-trade orthodoxy along the way, ended up costing American factory jobs, not creating them, economists say. The state support for Chinese enterprises that Trump pledged to confront remains intact.