China says will 'fight back firmly' if U.S. publishes additional tariffs

Andrew Cummings
June 19, 2018

But on Saturday, Beijing announced 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of USA imports including soybeans and beef effective July 6 in response to Trump's tariff hike on a similar amount of Chinese goods.

A central concern of the U.S. administration - and the reason for the initial sanctions - was alleged intellectual property theft by Chinese firms.

"Most observers outside the Trump administration think that a trade war between the US and China will lead to losses on all sides", Oxford Economics analysts wrote in a Tuesday report about the threat of an additional round of tariffs.

"This latest action by China clearly indicates its determination to keep the United States at a permanent and unfair disadvantage", Trump said.

China's commerce ministry responded on Tuesday by saying Beijing would fight back firmly with "qualitative" and "quantitative" measures if the United States publishes additional tariffs.

The United States and China have the world's biggest trading relationship but official ties are increasingly strained over complaints Beijing's technology development tactics hurt American companies.

Because China can apply tariffs to U.S. goods worth only $130 billion, Beijing will have to find other ways to execute a proportional response.

China bought American goods worth $153.9 billion a year ago, while exports to the United States totaled $429.8 billion, according to customs data.

Later on Friday, China announced its own tariffs on American goods, including a wide range of seafood and agricultural products, many cars and trucks, petrochemicals and an array of medical equipment.

In a briefing with reporters Tuesday morning, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro downplayed the notion that the US was in a "trade war" with China.

Merkel and Macron have both stressed that the bloc must learn to stand its ground on the world stage, as Trump openly challenges the European Union with a trade war and over security and climate policy.

"Trump directed the US Trade Representative's office to begin drawing up a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to hit with a 10% tariff, dwarfing the size of previous trade actions against China".

President Donald Trump announced Monday that he was considering a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in additional imports from China.

"Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong", Trump said.

He added that China was unlikely to respond to an announcement of tariffs with changes in industrial policies.

However, he emphasized no additional duties would be imposed until they have gone through a legal vetting process, which includes taking comments and holding a public hearing.

USA business groups said members were bracing for a backlash that would affect all American firms in China, not just in sectors facing tariffs. "And as a USA soybean farmer with the prices below break even now, it's definitely not good for us, either".

Retail groups also weighed in.

"This is a global trade war, plain and simple, and the American families will be the ones who suffer most", added Hun Quach, vice president of worldwide trade for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

US President Donald Trump (R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un shake hands following a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. The White House has said it opposes the ZTE provision, but a Trump veto of a defense bill to save Chinese jobs would be awkward.

Months of tit-for-tat trade measures between Beijing and Washington have had a fairly limited impact on currencies up to now. In 2017, the United States trade deficit with China was a record $375.2 billion, but that did not include services. China is following a similar schedule.

As the words flew, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index ended down 3.78%, or 114.08 points, at 2,907.82 while Hong Kong was 3.12% lower in late afternoon trade.

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