Saturday, 21 July, 2018


Trump readies tariffs on another $US200m of Chinese goods

Chairman Xi speaks at the National People’s Congress in Beijing Chairman Xi speaks at the National People’s Congress in Beijing
Bennie Garza | 12 July, 2018, 14:22

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer writes that these new tariffs come as a response to how Beijing retaliated to the initial tariffs - quickly implementing matching tariffs on the same amount of US exports to China.

The foreign ministry described Washington's threats as "typical bullying" and said China needed to counter-attack to protect its interests. It's unclear what that action could include.

China imported USA goods worth $130 billion previous year and Friday's tariff hike hit $34 billion of that, with another $16 billion cited for a possible increase.

Trump has recently introduced tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products and, while hundreds of products have been affected, certain goods were conveniently spared from this enactment - including the products made for Ivanka's internationally manufactured fashion brand.

Beijing recently indicated that its response to more tariffs would include "qualitative" measures, which many analysts interpreted as creating regulatory hurdles or even stoking anti-US sentiment among consumers of U.S. products.

Farmer Terry Davidson walks through his soy fields July 6, 2018, in Harvard, Illinois, the same day China imposed retaliatory tariffs aimed at the United States soybean market.

China has, in recent years, become a key export market for growing US energy exports.

The latest round of import taxes on Chinese goods has a two month public commentary period and the U.S. administration is being open about the fact that they expect China to discuss the move leading one to wonder if it will actually be imposed.

"Tonight's announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach", Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said in a statement.

A survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai found that most US businesses operating in China oppose the use of tariffs in retaliation for the challenges they face, from an uneven playing field to poor protection of intellectual property rights.

In financial markets, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.5 percent, while the main indexes in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell more than 2 percent.

The National Association of Manufacturers also criticized the US decision, saying this latest round of tariffs could undermine the economic gains from the administration's tax and regulatory reform policies.

'Tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products amounts to another multibillion-dollar tax on American businesses and families, ' trade lawyer Scott Lincicome said.

If the United States were to impose tariffs on oil, USA oil sellers would have to look for other destinations and attract new customers, which could cost them more. Imposing taxes on another $200 billion worth of products will raise the costs of every-day goods for American families, farmers, ranchers, workers, and job creators.

The US on Tuesday published a list of $200 billion (€170 billion) worth of Chinese goods that could soon be hit with tariffs.

Louis Kuijs, Hong Kong-based Head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics, said while he expects China to strongly condemn the USA moves, its policy response is likely to be limited for now.

"In part because they have only limited ammunition and in part because it's still early in the process on the USA side", Kuijs said.

Trump has been following through on pledges he made during his presidential campaign to get tough on China, which he accuses of unfair trade practices including theft of intellectual property and forced technology transfer that have led to a $375 billion US trade deficit with China.

As its dispute with Washington deepened, Beijing has been calling on other countries to support global free trade and has talked up efforts to ease investment rules. "If we see an increase in shipments from the latter in the coming months, we will be able to say there has been a shift in the supply chain, rather than simply a change in reporting techniques", he said.

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