US ‘opening fire’ on world with tariff threats, says China

Gladys Abbott
July 6, 2018

While the Trump administration prepares to deliver another round of punitive tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports on Friday, China has promised retaliation but assured markets that it will not "fire the first shot".

Economists have for months warned of the potential damage to the USA and global economies from aggressive trade policies that evolve into protectionism, which would raise prices and upend global supply chains.

Numerous bipartisan USA lawmakers and worldwide leaders have voiced concerns with Trump's trade policies, saying tariffs on foreign goods will ultimately hurt US workers.

"The US's measures are essentially attacking the global supply and value chain".

Friday is the deadline for the U.S. to impose sweeping tariffs on Chinese goods and China has promised to retaliate with tariffs of its own if the USA does follow through with its threat.

"As long as the United States issues a so-called tariff list, China will take necessary measures to firmly protect its legitimate interests", he added, without elaborating.

"China will not bow in the face of threats and blackmail", he added.

China's yuan rose sharply against the dollar on Wednesday, a day after the central bank assured markets it would keep the currency stable amid growing worries about trade friction, although stocks fell.

He emphasised that United States tariffs on Chinese exports will hurt both Chinese and foreign firms.

"There's nothing we can do if there's a trade war", Gao said as he showed off the firm's imported lobsters amid tanks of seafood at its Beijing store. Americans worry that rising Chinese technological prowess might erode USA industrial leadership and prosperity.

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In a country where regulation enforcement can vary widely by region, it's hard for analysts to know whether these sudden administrative headaches are a coincidence or the Chinese government following through on threats to make life harder for Americans in business.

The United States is "opening fire" on the world with its threatened tariffs, China warned on Thursday, saying no one wants a trade war but it will respond the instant USA measures go into effect, as Beijing ramped up the rhetoric in the heated dispute.

A U.S. industry source said: "There is a 99 per cent chance that tariffs go into force on Friday".

"The global trade conflict is at risk of a serious escalation", said Adam Slater of Oxford Economics in a report.

China's imports from the U.S. were just US$130 billion past year and so Beijing does not have the capacity to hit back in kind, raising speculation it could respond by creating administrative headaches for companies in China.

When Beijing levies those extra charges against products like USA soybeans, whiskey, and automobiles, it will be 12 p.m. Thursday in Washington.

USA companies ranging from whiskey distilleries to automakers like Ford and Tesla could be hit if China ramps up retaliatory measures.

Economists are generally wary of tariffs, since they drive up costs for businesses and consumers.

The global commercial order is being shaken by the Trump administration's use of an obscure United States trade-law provision on national security to justify steel and aluminium tariffs against a host of countries including defence allies.

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