Trump's China tariffs leave room to negotiate, but investors fret
25 March, 2018, 09:32
U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to impose tariffs on up to US$60 billion of Chinese imports could help Canadian retailers by further easing cross-border shopping, even though a full-fledged trade war between the world's two economic superpowers would damage Canada's economy, experts say.
Beijing is readying tariffs on 28 products that China imports from the USA ranging from fresh fruits and wine to steel pipes and recycled aluminium worth US$3 billion (S$3.9 billion), a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said on Friday (March 23).
In another e-mail interview with Xinhua on Friday, Tim Fox, chief economist of Dubai's biggest banking group Emirates NBD, said these measures by the Trump administration "also expose the USA economy to risks if China retaliates, especially against the US agriculture sector".
China Daily said that Mr Trump was trying to fool the USA public that tariffs on imported goods would benefit them, when it would worsen inequality in the United States and punish working families with higher prices on household basics.
The Trump administration responded by telling China to immediately shave $100 billion off its record $375 billion trade surplus with the United States. "But Trump does not want American people to know this".
American industry, agriculture in particular, as well as members of the president's own Republican party have voiced strident opposition to his recent trade moves. "We've seen it with the North Korea issue where Trump accepted Kim Jong Un's invitation... from people like Rachel Maddow, from the New York Times, from other so-called liberal media outlets which had said 'how dare you treat Kim Jong Un like an equal, there's a reason no the USA president has met with him'".
China potential measures were not confined to commodities, and tourism could be a possible target, he added.
Many countries went to the WTO on Friday to express concern about the USA move, with China and Russian Federation specifically calling on the U.S.to follow WTO rules and uphold its commitment to the trade body.
Senior White House economic advisor Everett Eissenstat said the new duties would target sectors where "China has sought to acquire an advantage through the unfair acquisition or forced technology transfer from United States companies".
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Officials said the proposed actions were in response to the White House's previous tariffs on steel and aluminum, which took effect Friday.
Chinese state media reported the usa to have been notified by China of its intentions to protect its trade interests.
Trump tried to make it clear he wasn't trying to provoke China or its leader, President Xi Jinping.
Yet on Thursday, Robert Lighthizer, Mr Trump's trade tsar, told Congress that besides Canada and Mexico, the United States would also, at least temporarily, exempt the EU, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and South Korea.
"China has done a very, very good job since it entered the WTO in 2001 of carefully constructing its protectionist policies, and other unfair policies, in a way that allows them to skirt WTO disciplines", he said.
"Exports are extremely important to the Chinese economy, but have been trending less so in recent years and the U.S. has been shrinking as a share of China's export market", she said.
"President Trump may push other countries to take sides, resulting in a divided world", he said.
The U.S. argues it needs a strong steel and aluminum industry to reinforce domestic production of warships, fighter planes and other national defense requirements.
He says nuclear option would be to sell a "couple hundred billion" in US Treasuries, which would tank markets and raise US interest rates.
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