Sunday, 17 November, 2019

Trump to impose tariffs on $50 bn in Chinese imports: White House

Patty Aguilar | 24 March, 2018, 10:36

In an apparent tit-for-tat measure, China threatened to slap tariffs on $3 billion worth of USA imports, sparking fears of a trade war between the two nations.

The Commerce Ministry said higher duties on pork, apples, steel pipe and other goods would offset Chinese losses due to Trump's tariff hike on steel and aluminum imports. Beijing urged Washington to negotiate a settlement as soon as possible. "It will be necessary to challenge this measure in the WTO".

The escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington sent shivers through financial markets as investors foresaw dire consequences for the global economy if trade barriers start going up.

This month, Trump announced new steel and aluminum tariffs.

"This is the first time where I think China is having to reconsider what I would call its systemic trade apparatus, in other words it's economic nationalist policies that are very, very supportive of its own industries through various protectionist mechanisms", Capri said. "Nevertheless, the first volley of shots and retaliatory response has been set off".

"China's response was entirely predictable, given recent actions by our administration to implement new tariffs", said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA.

"We urge the United States to cease and desist, make cautious decisions, and avoid placing China-U.S. trade relations in danger with the goal of hurting others that eventually end up hurting itself", it added. That leaves Beijing room to take more drastic steps.

Liu said the Section 301 investigation report "violates worldwide trade rules and is beneficial to neither Chinese interests, US interests nor global interests", Xinhua cited him as saying. -China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business with China. "But China is not afraid of and will not recoil from a trade war", said the embassy in a statement. The senior USA official said Washington was "very optimistic" that allies such as Europe, Japan and Australia would join its WTO case. China will also pursue legal action against the United States at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in response to the USA planned tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, the statement said, and called for dialogue to resolve the dispute.

The order signed by Trump directed the trade representative to publish a list of proposed tariffs for public comment within 15 days.

The Trump administration has asked China to propose ways of narrowing the $375 billion USA goods deficit with Beijing by $100 billion, but it's not clear that a confrontational approach will yield progress.

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Late Thursday, after the announced China trade actions, the White House announced temporary exemptions for the steel and aluminum tariffs for a number of countries including Canada, Mexico, South Korea Australia and the European Union. Previous tariffs hit imported aluminum, steel, solar panels and washing machines, raising the prices for domestic consumers and causing the stock market to dip. The tariffs are created to limit Chinese investment in the USA tech industry and prevent theft of US intellectual property.

White House officials say they will try to minimize any price increases for American shoppers. China significantly increased its tariff rates on USA ethanol in January 2017, which caused shipments to collapse.

But while the US government's move on steel and aluminum weakens the WTO, its complaint against China's technology-poaching suggests it may yet rely on the body when convenient.

The commerce ministry is planning an internal meeting with senior economists and foreign policy experts ahead of the visit of the Chinese trade minister. Among the possibilities would be restricting the ability of Chinese companies to list on USA stock indexes. Washington reports different figures that put the gap at a record $375.2 billion. Technology and industrial companies, basic materials makers and healthcare companies also fell sharply.

Companies in many industries including auto manufacturing that want to operate in China are required to work through local partners, which requires them to give technology to potential Chinese competitors.

Stock market reaction will depend on the scale and timing of USA trade restrictions, and on China's response. But China, trying to avoid a headon collision with the USA because it has a lot to lose in a trade war, also asked the United States to work towards settling the dispute rather than escalating it. Beijing is talking tough to salvage its political prestige but still hoping for a solution, analysts said.

"This seems to be the beginning of an era of reversing globalization", said Tao Dong, vice chairman for Greater China at Credit Suisse Private Banking in Hong Kong.

Wine imported from the U.S.is displayed at a supermarket in Beijing in 2011. "We can't let that happen", he said.

On Tuesday, the Chinese premier promised at a news conference Beijing will "open even wider" to imports and investment as part of efforts to make its economy more productive. Multinationals with mature supply chains like Walmart could shift to Vietnam or India to avoid the tariffs, he said.

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