Trade frictions between the world's two largest economies go well beyond the parameters of imports and exports.
Washington has been attempting to negotiate with Beijing about issues like forced tech transfers and intellectual property theft, but there's a growing sense among international analysts that talks may also be touching on other deep-rooted issues in their relationship, particularly on the national security and military front.
The ongoing spat is a reflection of great power rivalries, political scientist Joseph Nye wrote in a Project Syndicate editorial last month: "It is much more than a typical trade dispute like, say, America's recent clash with Canada over access to that country's dairy market."
Many economists have pointed out that the current dispute is more of a tech war than a tariff war as U.S. President Donald Trump's administration targets China's technology sector practices. Beijing's militarization of the South China Sea and the sovereignty of Taiwan could also be influencing negotiations.