President Trump repeatedly talked about China's unfair trade practices. What were those?
Do other countries like China install unfair trade guidelines? Or, is China being targeted "unfairly"?
Peter Navarro, the White House National Trade Council and Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Director, put out a report called "How China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World". In it there are many specific accusations against Chinese "economic aggression", with evidence cited for each. There's also a video of Navarro doing a press conference about the report. Here are the accusations:
The report makes the case that they are all done in bad faith as part of a deliberate concerted effort to:
The tariffs are therefore partly retaliations in response to what the Trump administration views as aggressive actions by the Chinese state.
Before we discuss qualitative "fairness", there's a practical reason to single China out even if it's not qualitatively different: scale.
US trade deficit is $795B total. Of that, $375B or 47%, is with China (source: Wikipedia) - dwarfing deficit with any other country (more than twice the size of next biggest entity, EU, and more than 5 times the deficit with biggest single country, Mexico). And the trade deficit in goods with china is 65% of total (source).
As such, reducing China deficit is the most effective way to reduce overall deficit, on per-country basis.
Additionally, that deficit is the result of the greatest import/export imbalance among major trading partners. If you ignore countries with less than $20B exports from USA, China exports 3.9 times more of what it imports from USA - with the next largest ratio being 2.1 for germany and 2.0 for Japan (source: same Wiki table, but exported to Excel and imports divided by exports and filtering out smaller importers of US goods).
As such, reducing China deficit via a trade war is the least negatively-impactful way to reduce overall deficit, as there are less exports to China to negatively affect.
The official reason for the first round of tariffs was theft of intellectual property (source):
The investigation concluded that China has stolen or coerced US companies into turning over their intellectual property through a series of state-run structural maneuvers, including its requirement that foreign companies partner with Chinese companies to access the Chinese market, said Everett Eissenstat, the deputy director of the National Economic Council for international economic affairs.
The investigation also assessed that China has stolen US intellectual property by hacking US computer networks, though senior administration officials said Thursday's tariffs would not account for the value of that intellectual property theft, which they estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
I'm omitting other accusations as they were NOT actually leveled as part of the first round of tariffs (e.g. currency manipulation, pricing etc...)