International Trade

Economic statecraft: Is there a sub-national dimension? Evidence from United States–China rivalry

Using detailed information on policy interventions by US sub-national governments between 2009 and 2019, the contribution of such public bodies to Sino-US geopolitical rivalry is examined, in particular since President Trump took office in 2017. While US sub-national governments accounted for 28% of all US policy interventions that harmed Chinese commercial interests, awarding firm-specific subsidies in 88% of cases, the timing and sectoral incidence of such intervention suggests that economic statecraft considerations could only be part of the explanation for their actions. Ironically, the interventions of US sub-national governments and their weak commitment to transparency have much in common with their frequently maligned Chinese counterparts.