Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Trump targets $50bn in China goods, vows more if needed

US President Donald Trump green-lights tariffs on $71 billion of Chinese goods: source Trump's China tariffs met with retaliation threats from Beijing
Russell Knight | 16 June, 2018, 05:41

"Our hope is that it doesn't lead to a rash reaction from China", U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMcConnell urges GOP senators to call Trump about tariffs Companies brace for trade war MORE said in an interview on Fox Business Network on Friday.

The announcement comes as trade conflicts between the world's largest two economies are on the rise. The move is aimed at cutting the USA trade deficit with China.

President Trump also threatened to pursue additional tariffs if China retaliates by taking action against American companies or imposes new tariffs on USA goods.

President Donald Trump's administration announced the tariffs on Chinese imports early Friday and the country has vowed to retaliate. Beijing earlier drew up a list of $50 billion in USA products that would face retaliatory tariffs, including beef and soybeans, a shot at Trump's supporters in rural America.

The immediate impact of tariffs on USA growth is expected to be relatively small, but economists warn a prolonged trade war could damage business investment and consumer confidence.

China's Ministry of Commerce said the decision to impose tariffs meant "all previously agreed trade negotiation results are no longer valid". China has previously promised to respond with retaliatory tariffs on USA products such as cars, planes and soybeans.

Trump has long threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese as part of his protectionist policies and to halt the ascendancy of what he considers to be America's greatest economic rival.

Trump began his tariff announcement by lauding his "great friendship" with Communist leader Xi Jinping, and how that and relations between the USA and China "are both very important to me".

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The White House had set a June 15 deadline for announcing the full list of items that will see a tariff imposed, focusing on areas of China's industry such as aerospace, robotics and machinery. The wording contrasts with attempts from some USA officials such as Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro to use more toned-down vocabulary-with Navarro characterizing the back-and-forth between the two nations as a "trade dispute" instead.

"If the USA side adopts unilateral protectionist measures and damages China's interests, we will immediately react and take necessary measures to firmly safeguard our legitimate rights and interests", said China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang during a regular news briefing in Beijing.

Washington and Beijing appeared increasingly headed toward a trade war after several rounds of negotiations failed to resolve US complaints over Chinese industrial policy, market access and a $375 billion trade gap.

"Imposing tariffs places the cost of China's unfair trade practices squarely on the shoulders of American consumers, manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers", said Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A second tranche of 284 goods valued at US$16 billion - which would bring the total to US$50 billion - will undergo an additional process of review and public comment, according to the trade representative's office.

Over 800 Chinese products worth $34 billion were included in Trump's initial list.

"A slowing China will add to the challenges for the global economy", said Louis Kuijs, chief Asia economist at Oxford Economics in Hong Kong and a former International Monetary Fund researcher.

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Trump hails big tariffs on China Trump hails big tariffs on China Trump's announcement is an escalation of a long-simmering trade battle between the two countries. The U.S. trade actions against China could lead to retaliation from Beijing.