The motivation behind this site is simple: Visually track the US and China trade war, provide easy access to the data (and code) behind the presentation, do so in a way that is essentially "live" (as the US census releases the data, the data and figures will be automatically updated).
The sources of inspiration are many. The Covid-19 pandemic lead to a proliferation of data about cases, deaths, by region and the explosion of non-traditional datasets (e.g. mobile phone tracking data) used to track related outcomes. Interact this with the proliferation of "data science" type skills in the population and next thing you know there are some amazing, compelling presentations of data out there. Obvious examples are the Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Map and Opportunity Insights track the recovery page.
A second important source of inspiration is Chad Bown's work at the PIIE that tracked and continues to track many different facets of the trade war. Getting into the details of trade agreements, trade policy, trade data is not easy. He has made it far easier for many of us to understand the trade war at both a "macro" and "micro" level. I don't aim to replace his work, but to complement it, especially by presenting various regional outcomes associated with the trade war.