The United States and China have had a long and complicated trading relationship. From the early 19th century, when American merchants began trading with Cantonese traders, to modern-day controversies over intellectual property theft and tariffs, the two countries have been intertwined through commerce.
But when did the official trade agreement with China begin? The answer to that question is not straightforward. In fact, there have been several trade agreements between the United States and China over the years.
One of the earliest treaty agreements between the two countries was the Treaty of Wangxia, signed in 1844. This treaty allowed American merchants to trade in Chinese ports and established a system of extraterritoriality, under which American citizens were subject to American law while in China. This treaty set a precedent for future trade agreements between the two countries.
Fast forward to the 20th century, and the United States and China continued to negotiate trade agreements. One of the most significant was the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000, which granted China permanent normal trade relations with the United States and paved the way for China`s eventual entry into the World Trade Organization.
However, the most recent and perhaps most controversial trade agreement between the two countries is the U.S.-China Phase One trade deal. Negotiated under the Trump administration, the trade deal was signed in January 2020 and aimed to reduce the United States` trade deficit with China while also addressing issues such as intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers.
So, who started the trade agreement with China? The answer is not a simple one. The United States and China have been negotiating trade agreements for over 175 years, with each agreement building on the previous one. The U.S.-China Phase One trade deal is just the latest in a long line of trade agreements between the two countries, and it remains to be seen what the future holds for this complex and evolving relationship.