The United States-China trade war started in 2018 and has never officially ended. So, which side has been “winning” it?

Recent research offers an unambiguous answer: neither. U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods led to higher import prices in the U.S. in the affected product categories, and China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods ended up hurting Chinese importers. Bilateral trade between the two countries has tanked. And because the U.S. and China are the world’s two largest economies, many regard this development as a harbinger of the end of globalization.

Yet the “deglobalization” argument ignores the many “bystander” countries that were not directly targeted by the U.S. or China. In a new paper investigating the effects of the trade war on these countries, my co-authors and I come to an unexpected conclusion: Many, but not all, of these bystander countries have benefited from the trade war in the form of higher exports.