China

The U.S. used to send a lot of its plastic waste to China to get recycled. But last year, China put the kibosh on imports of the world's waste. The policy, called National Sword, freaked out people in the U.S. — a huge market for plastic waste had just dried up.

Where was it all going to go now?

Updated Nov. 25 at 3 p.m. ET

For roughly half a year, Hong Kong's streets have seethed with discontent. Scenes from the semiautonomous region show protesters, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands, many wearing surgical masks and carrying umbrellas that have come to signify resistance.

The images are astonishing, and the issues that set the protests in motion are complex.

So here's a primer breaking down the major players, why they have poured into the streets and the response so far from China.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is postponing some of its new tariffs on Chinese imports — a significant retreat in the trade war that has rattled financial markets on both sides of the Pacific.

When hundreds of thousands filled Hong Kong's streets on June 9 to protest a controversial extradition bill, the only mainland coverage came from China Daily, an English-language state newspaper geared towards overseas audiences.

It falsely labelled the march as one in support of the bill, which would allow extradition of some criminal defendants in Hong Kong to face trial in China. The state broadcaster, CCTV, kept its coverage to a minimum. China's government was silent.

Updated at 12:02 p.m. ET

Hong Kong police cracked down on pro-democracy protesters demonstrating Tuesday at Hong Kong International Airport after they caused serious flight disruptions for a second day at one of the world's busiest aviation hubs.

Television footage showed tense confrontations late Tuesday between protesters wearing masks and local police. Protesters appeared to be barricading themselves inside a terminal using luggage carts as police tried to get them to leave.

The Treasury Department formally labeled China a currency manipulator Monday, after Beijing allowed its currency to fall to an 11-year low. The tit-for-tat moves mark the latest escalation in the two countries' trade war, which triggered a sharp sell-off on Wall Street.

While President Trump has long accused China of tinkering with its currency to gain an unfair advantage on world markets, this is the first time in a quarter century the U.S. has formally accused Beijing of currency manipulation.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) visited the Ohio State Fair over the weekend to mingle with hundreds of farmers from around the state, while news spread that President Donald Trump was moving forward with plans to increase tariffs on Chinese imports. 

Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET

Stocks continue to tumble around the world Monday after China allowed its currency to slide, in the latest sign of economic tensions between Beijing and Washington.

After falling more than 900 points earlier in the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 767 points, a drop of 2.9%. The blue chip index has fallen more than 6% from last month's all-time high, while the S&P 500 index lost ground for the sixth day in a row.

Technology stocks such as Apple and IBM were hit especially hard.

Higher prices will be coming to stores this fall, retailers warn, if President Trump follows through with his threat to slap new tariffs on Chinese imports.

The White House pressed the tariff threat on Friday, even as Trump announced a new agreement aimed at boosting beef exports to Europe. A day earlier, Trump threatened to set a new 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of products imported from China.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Thursday that the United States will impose a new 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of products imported from China, saying Beijing had broken some of the promises it made in trade negotiations.

The new tariffs, which are set to take effect Sept. 1, represent another ratcheting up in trade tensions between the countries and sent stocks falling sharply.

No deal yet.

The brief trade talks in Shanghai this week between top U.S. and Chinese officials were "constructive," the White House said Wednesday, adding that negotiations are expected to pick up again in Washington, D.C., in early September.

"The two sides discussed topics such as forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, services, non-tariff barriers, and agriculture," the White House said in a short statement. It said China pledged to buy more U.S. farm goods.

Thousands of protesters are occupying Hong Kong International Airport, filling the arrivals terminal of one of the world's busiest airports. Pro-democracy organizers are hoping to take their message to an international audience, in the latest in a string of protests that began weeks ago.

"Now is the summer of discontent, and as a Hong Konger, I am born, I live, and I love my hometown," leading pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong tells NPR. He adds that in Hong Kong, 'we should determine our own destiny instead of the Hong Kong people's future being dominated by Beijing."

Updated at 10:59 a.m. ET

U.S. economic growth fell to a 2.1% annual rate in the second quarter — down from a 3.1% pace in the first three months of 2019, the Commerce Department said. But growth came in slightly stronger than many analysts had expected.

If you're caught in a trade war, it's good to be a farmer.

Lots of American companies have lost sales since the Trump administration and China embarked on the current cycle of tariff-raising and retaliation. Few, if any, have been compensated as handsomely as farmers.

A group of more than 600 companies and trade associations have signed a letter to the president asking him to end the trade war with China and to drop tariffs.

Retail giants like Walmart, Target, Macy's and Gap wrote that they are worried tariffs will lead to job loss and will harm consumers and the U.S. economy.

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