From the Background: "Over the past decades, Congress has sought to induce China to reduce the role of the state in the economy and remove trade and investment barriers, particularly as U.S.-China trade and economic relations have continued to expand. In 2018, China was--in terms of goods--the largest U.S. trading partner, third-largest export market, and largest source of imports. China is also the second-largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities. Despite growing commercial ties, however, in recent years the bilateral relationship has become increasingly complex and contentious over several economic and trade issues. Concerns over China's policies governing intellectual property (IP), subsidies, technology, and innovation led the Trump Administration to launch an investigation into those policies and, subsequently, to impose tariffs on nearly all U.S. imports from China."
CRS In Focus, IF11284
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/