China may be suffering from U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war. A substantial number of Chinese companies are laying off staff, cutting wages and reducing capital expenditures. Prices are being slashed on goods subject to tariffs. And China's export growth has slowed.

Of course, U.S. consumers and manufacturers will also get hurt by the tariffs. And there's a chance that China's slowdown is just a coincidence, and that the trade war has only slightly exacerbated the pain. China had already been trying to cool off credit growth in its shadow banking system, and its economy has been decelerating for the past six years.

But nevertheless, there's a strong possibility that tariffs — and quieter but potentially more important restrictions on tech exports to and investment from China — are causing China pain. That raises the question of what kind of concessions the United States can demand from China, and what China is likely to agree to, in order to end that the conflict.