Has President Trump’s trade war cost China three million jobs?

Business and Consumer Services

Claim: President Trump says three million jobs have been lost in China as a consequence of the trade war with the United States.

Verdict: While estimates for China’s employment vary widely, they do not generally support Mr Trump’s claim. When asked, the White House directed us to a survey that gave a lower figure.

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Over the past year, the United States and China have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of one another’s goods.

Mr Trump accuses Beijing of unfair trading practices and intellectual property theft.

“China has taken a very hard hit over the last number of months,” he said at the recent G7 Summit.

“They’ve lost three million jobs, and it’d soon be much more than three million jobs.”

This is not the first time President Trump has boasted about the damage the trade war has inflicted on China. “They’ve lost two and a half million jobs in a very short period of time,” he said last week.

First, let’s look at where President Trump may have got his numbers from.

The White House press office responded to our query with a link to an article published in July in the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based newspaper.

This article quoted a report from a Chinese investment bank, China International Capital Corp (CICC), with an estimate of trade war-related job losses in the manufacturing sector of up to 1.9 million between July 2018 and May 2019.

When pressed further, Mr Trump’s spokesperson said the CICC survey had not included data after May, when there had been a significant increase in tariffs on goods from China.

However, no explanation was offered as to where the figure of three million – or the 2.5 million a week earlier – had been sourced.

We also contacted the US Treasury Department, but has not yet received a response.

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