Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Trade war Round 2? USA threatens new tariffs on China

Soybean prices have fallen dramatically in recent weeks.
Daniel Acker  Bloomberg Soybean prices have fallen dramatically in recent weeks. Daniel Acker Bloomberg
Jeannette Daniel | 12 July, 2018, 13:41

Last Friday, the United States imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $US34 billion ($46 billion) of Chinese products, and Beijing responded by hitting the same amount of U.S. imports.

Reuters reported that China's commerce ministry called the new tariffs "completely unacceptable", adding that it was "shocked" and would file a complaint with the World Trade Organization.

Chinese retaliation: China has threatened to retaliate dollar-for-dollar if the Trump administration imposes a new round of tariffs. It's unclear what that action could include.

Over 100 types of plastic products, materials and equipment from China are included in a massive new round of US tariffs released late July 10 and covering $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

OCBC estimated that in a scenario where United States tariffs apply to US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods, South Korea's GDP growth could be hit by 0.3 of a percentage point while Japan's growth could be hit by 0.2 of a percentage point.

If China responds with tariffs on energy, this could cut sales of USA energy goods, analysts and executives told Reuters last month, when Beijing first threatened to slap tariffs on us energy.

There are fears that Beijing could attempt to disrupt operations of American automakers, retailers and others that see China as a key market.

China imports far less from the U.S. than the USA imports from China.

The tariffs initiated by U.S. President Donald Trump have also drawn criticism from lawmakers in his own Republican Party, as well as from U.S. trade groups anxious about higher costs for businesses and consumers.

In his statement, Lighthizer claimed that the United States has specially targeted those Chinese products that "benefit from China's industrial policy and forced technology transfer practices", and China's retaliation - from Washington's perspective - was "without any worldwide legal basis or justification".

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China slammed the US threat to expand tariff hikes to imports including apples, fish sticks and French doors as a "totally unacceptable" escalation of their trade battle on Wednesday and vowed to protect its "core interests".

"For over a year, the Trump administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition".

"The United States has unveiled the list of tariffs in an escalating manner".

The U.S. Trade Representative announced the possible second round of tariff hikes on Tuesday targeting a $200 billion list of Chinese goods ranging from burglar alarms to mackerel.

US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch described the move was "reckless".

The US Chamber of Commerce has supported Trump's domestic tax cuts and efforts to reduce regulation of businesses, but it has been critical of Trump's aggressive tariff policies.

The survey showed 53 percent of companies increased investment in 2017, down from 55 percent the year before, highlighting a trend of reduced investment growth since a 2012 peak, when 74 percent of respondents said they had boosted investment in China. "It will also result in retaliatory tariffs, further hurting American workers", a Chamber spokeswoman said.

"But more tariffs like these will punish America's manufacturing workers - and could undermine our hard-won gains thanks to tax and regulatory reform". During a visit to Germany this week by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the countries signed business deals worth more than $23 billion.

"China stands in line with the global community on the correct side of history to together protect the rules of the multilateral trade order", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua said on Wednesday.

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