Monday, 16 July, 2018

China Trade Talks Grind to a Halt

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Patty Aguilar | 13 July, 2018, 10:11

As the U.S. -China trade spat turns into a full-blown war with tariffs and retaliatory tariffs and threats of further tariffs, U.S. energy exports to China may suffer if Beijing follows through with its threat to slap tariffs on U.S. oil and oil product imports. Beijing has not yet responded because it doesn't import enough from the United States to match the $US200b figure.

Members of Congress are increasingly questioning Trump's aggressive trade policies, warning that tariffs on imports raise prices for consumers and expose United States farmers and manufacturers to retaliation overseas. Also on the list were farm products, seafood, building supplies and certain types of electronics. Hong Kong's main index shed 1.3 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index shed 1.7%.

A Commerce Ministry statement said, "It is totally unacceptable for American side to publish a tariff list in a way that is accelerating and escalating".

The move is a major escalation in a brewing trade war between the world's two largest economies. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chair of the Senate Finance committee.

Faced with USTR's latest announcement, China was "shocked".

The country's Commerce Ministry earlier threatened "comprehensive measures", which were feared to include harassing American companies in China.

The US felt it had no choice, but to move forward on the new tariffs after China failed to respond to the administration's concerns over unfair trade practices and Beijing's abuse of American intellectual property, according to two senior officials who spoke to reporters. "There is no justification for such action", he said in a statement.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 200 points to end at 24,700.45 after the administration announced plans to impose 10 per cent tariffs on thousands more Chinese products, drastically escalating the trade war that has been simmering for months. A final decision will come sometime after that. However, because China exports more to the United States than it imports there are limits on the amount of tariffs Beijing can impose on American goods.

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China's imports of US goods are so small that Beijing "cannot match fresh USA tariffs", said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report.

While summer is usually the peak season to export U.S. lobsters to China, the "crazy" 25% tariffs could drive customers to Canadian suppliers, according to Justin Oakes, a business development manager for North America at Gfresh, an online Chinese seafood marketplace.

Meanwhile, farmers hurt by Chinese tariffs on US agricultural exports pose a political risk for Mr. Trump and for Republicans, especially as the November midterm elections loom. Shares of Advance Auto Parts Inc were down 1.6%, Autozone Inc fell 1.8% and O'Reilly Automotive nearly 2%.

The dollar broke through the psychologically significant barrier of 112 yen JPY= for the first time since January 10, rising as much as 1.3 percent to 112.17 yen. China received more US crude oil in 2017 than the third- and fourth-largest importers combined, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

China 'cannot match fresh USA tariffs, ' Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank said.

The biggest losers were the offshore Chinese yuan CNH=, which skidded toward an 11-month low, and the Australian dollar AUD=, which fell as much as 1.3 percent.

Copper lost 3.12% to $US6135.00 a ton.

Brent crude futures tumbled, settling at $US73.40 per barrel, down $US5.46 or 6.92%. Brent crude fell $2.51 to $76.30 a barrel by 11.30 pm, IST, while U.S. crude was down $1.74 at $72.37 a barrel.

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