The U.S China trade war has been ongoing since early July of 2018, when Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese products and China responded.

So far the U.S has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese products. China has imposed tariffs on $110 billion worth of U.S products. Both countries have declared that they are ready to increase the tariffs if need be.

During the tariff war, both the U.S and China have held discussions and negotiations. However a notable improvement for both countries happened on the 162nd day of the tariff war. It occurred when China announced that they would lower their 25% tariff on U.S autos and auto parts for three months. This happened on December 16th of 2018 .

The U.S and china have also both agreed to truces or concessions of tariffs during the rising tensions. The first negotiated truce was reached on the 2nd of December in 2018 and the most recent could be seen when Trump extended the tariff deadlines for China this past February.

Both countries are currently holding discussion and talks as to what should happen next, concerning the tariffs and deals that they could possibly reach. The most recent talk was held on February 21st through the 24th. During this talk both countries appeared eager to reach an end to the tariff war. Representatives from both countries also expressed positivity and optimism concerning each other.

The tariff war may have only started when the U.S imposed the first China specific tariff in 2018, but tensions and threats had been building up in each country for more than two years prior. Some tensions either country faced were, several comments made by president elect, Donald Trump, at the time. Also tensions were rising because of a WTO (world trade organization) case the U.S brought against China.

The U.S trade war brought about tariffs on many U.S and Chinese affairs and products. Neither country is at blame, because both have implemented very high tariffs specifically against each other.

This has affected the trade and economy of both countries. It has also affected each countries normal trade partners and a few of their economies. The tariffs have also affected the products they were placed on.


Your SWAC leader will prompt you with questions concerning the same idea:

The U.S and China are both suffering from these tariffs and the repercussions and reprimands of them. If you were on an economical advisory committee in either country how would you approach this issue, and why?

Express your thoughts and contribute to discussion with your SWAC peers!

(write your thoughts)

This lesson plan is meant as an aid for the Faculty Sponsor, President or Vice-President to lead their respective SWAC chapter in the discussion of this two weeks’ focus: US-China trade war.

Kahoot! Introductory Quiz

Kahoot! is an online Quiz platform. This small four-question quiz is to test the student’s prior knowledge of the JCPOA and nuclear warfare, introducing them to the discussion to come. The quiz does not require the proctor to have a Kahoot account in order to start. Students will use an electronic device in order to answer. The link is below; click START NOW and select Classic mode. After the Game PIN is generated, students will be able to join the session by accessing on their computer or mobile device. Begin the quiz once all students have joined! This activity shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.


Lesson Handout

Now is when the handouts should be passed out to students. This handout will cover an analysis of the JCPOA and the United States’ decision to withdraw from the agreement. It is recommended that the handout be read aloud as a group instead of individually. Take some time after the document has been read to cover the material with the students and make sure that its been generally understood. Ask questions to students; get them to summarize what they’ve read and make sure that the students are engaged and understanding. The reading shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.


Video Resources

We have two video resources below that will go over in more detail the current event portion of the handout and expand upon it. Following each link we’ve included a description of the video and possible questions that you can ask students to see what they’ve taken away from watching the clips. Each video clip is between 3 and 6 minutes; coupled with questions this segment should take no more than 15 minutes.

What is the U.S-China trade war? Why or how did it start?


This short video explains the trade war between the U.S and China. It takes more of an entrepreneur stance on the situation explaining some causes and effects it could have in the long run. The video also explains how the trade war started, while taking a partisan stance of opinion.

What could happen because of the possible outcomes of the U.S China trade war?

LINK: (0:40- 5:10)

This video explains the outcomes that could come from the trade war. It has economic interests for both countries at hand in its explanation. The video mentions the repercussions which could be enormous for both countries and their economies because of the attitude that both countries display. This is an attitude of not willing to back down from one another.


  • Considering the devastating effects on the economy due to the trade war, would it be beneficial to the safety of the future economy if there were a financial advisory committee on the UN? Why, why not?
  • Should the U.S and China put their differences aside and regulate the tariffs with the UN? Why, why not?

(This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes – total estimated meeting time: no more than 1 hour.)



· “The US-China Trade War: A Timeline.” China Briefing News. March 13, 2019. Accessed April 01, 2019.

· “What’s the Endgame in the US-China Trade War?” Accessed April 3, 2019.

· Ale’s World of Stocks. The US-China Trade War Explained in Under 5 Minutes!Accessed April 3, 2019.