‘Trump’s Trade War’ airs Tuesday

Tim Grucza, right, filming along one of the narrow alleys of old Beijing with soundman Luo Hao. Grucza is using a hand-held DSLR to keep a low profile while filming in public. (Emma Schwartz/FRONTLINE)

By Haley Samsel

President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports has captured headlines for the past year, most recently with Chinese negotiators set to arrive in Washington next week for trade talks. But what’s behind the conflict, and how does it affect American and Chinese industry?

Those questions are at the heart of “Trump’s Trade War,” a new FRONTLINE documentary produced in partnership with National Public Radio and IRW that will air Tuesday.

Laura Sullivan, an NPR correspondent, has been working with FRONTLINE producer Rick Young and his team, co-producers Fritz Kramer and Emma Schwartz and IRW-FRONTLINE Fellow Emily Crawford, to explore what led to Trump’s decision to confront China and how the growing rivalry between the two countries extends far beyond trade and tariffs.

Frontline shooting in Middletown, OH
NPR correspondent  Laura Sullivan waits while the camera crew films. (Emma Schwartz/FRONTLINE)

The stakes are high: Billions of dollars in trade between the U.S. and China, the stability of the system that has governed global trade for decades and the relationship between the world’s greatest powers.

But it’s also about much more. While American and Chinese officials say they will come to a trade agreement soon, the economic rivalry is far from over: In business and especially technology, the competition between American and Chinese businesses is expected to grow.

If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Tune into FRONTLINE online or on PBS on May 7 at 10 p.m. ET (check local listings) to learn more.