Monday, 24 September, 2018

Trump tech tariff threat overshadows strong China factory, investment data

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker GETTYEuropean Commission President Jean Claude Juncker says retaliation is"inevitable
Patty Aguilar | 15 March, 2018, 03:38

The exemption of Mexico from President Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum was a lifeline for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but at the same time Mexican officials fear the tariff issue could be used as a bargaining chip to force concessions in the broader auto sector.

"We are continuing our discussions", Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said during a press conference held on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session underway in Beijing.

That may not reflect the current mood in Washington.

Trump returned to the offensive over the weekend, raising the prospect of higher levies on European cars and telling supporters at a rally that the countries of the EU have banded together "to screw the US on trade".

China said Sunday that it will not initiate a trade war with the United States, but vowed to defend its national interests in the face of growing American protectionism. China accounts for 24.8 percent of Korea's total exports, while the USA and the European Union make up 12 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively. He said "This week, I will travel across Canada to meet with the workers and businesses at the heart of our country's world-class steel and aluminum industries". Many trade experts say the fate of Trump's trade agenda rests to a large degree on whom he anoints as his next economic adviser.

"The tariffs will extend an upswing in steel and aluminum prices and users' input costs". As with many of Trump's economic ideas, the tariffs were driven by the misguided notion that all worldwide trade is a zero-sum game, wherein any benefit derived by a foreign partner must by its very nature have come at America's expense.

The tariffs are 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum.

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Other countries, too, could be spared, the president said, if they can convince the administration that their steel and aluminum exports don't threaten American industry.

The government has emphasised that the transshipment accounts for only 2.4 per cent of South Korea's steel exports to the USA and that South Korea's import of Chinese steel products for transshipment decreased 21 per cent last year from a year earlier.

Last year, the United States posted a $375 billion (€304 billion) deficit with China.

The Royal Australian Navy sails periodically through the South China Sea, though not within the crucial 12-mile zones of territory.

The U.S. reported a $375 billion deficit with China previous year, so a 20 percent reduction would still be among the largest trade gaps that the U.S. has with any country.

The confusion on Thursday in the hours leading up to the signing was an exclamation point to cap off a week of disarray within the White House sparked by a President eager to swiftly move forward with the tariffs - even as the policy was still being written.

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