China hits back at U.S. with $60bn tariff threat

Gladys Abbott
August 4, 2018

China says if that happens, it will follow through with its taxes, which will range from 5% to 25%. He said the Chinese economy was not strong enough to withstand a lengthy fight. The Chinese "are not in good economic shape".

Trump has said he is determined to reduce the large US trade deficit with China.

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"The Chinese are also coping by lowering the rate of the yuan, while the USA can look towards countries in Southeast Asia as replacements for its imports, so it's not a big issue".

There are signs that his approach is not working the way he intended.

Officials with the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. - the leading powerhouse behind the state's liquefied natural gas project - haven't said much about the immediate consequences of such tariffs, but continued to defend the forward movement of the project despite current tensions.

Friday's threat is the latest in a long list of actions and threats taken by both countries this year.

The Trump administration has issued temporary emergency financial support of $12 billion to help farmers hard-hit by China's retaliatory tariffs such as soybean farmers.

The spat began in April with the Trump administration imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports into the USA from China, which also retaliated by imposing additional tariffs worth about United States dollars three billion on 128 U.S. products.

The threat comes as the US has increased rhetoric about the dispute. China countered with more tariffs on another $50 billion, and threatened that it would respond to every Trump tariffs with an equal tariff of its own. But White House officials said formal talks between the countries have mostly lapsed as the economic restrictions have hardened.

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The United States alleges that China steals US corporate secrets and wants it to stop doing so, and is also seeking to get Beijing to abandon plans to boost its high-tech industries at America's expense.

"The trade war is a tactic by Trump, but if it eventually evolves into a strategic confrontation, the result will undoubtedly be disastrous", he said.

President Donald Trump blames the practices for putting USA companies at a disadvantage and helping to create a trade deficit.

The US imposed 25 per cent tariffs on US$34 billion of Chinese goods in early July, with another US$16 billion to be targeted in coming weeks, drawing an in-kind retaliation from China.

Beijing can not match those measures dollar for dollar, as its exports far exceed imports.

But farmers aren't the only casualties of the trade battle.

"The US side has repeatedly escalated the situation against the interests of both enterprises and consumers", the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in its statement. "This would be a tremendous missed opportunity and would have very real effects on the U.S. LNG industry", he said. But that move, made in June, appears to have done little to help.

China accounted for about 16% of America's trade in goods previous year.

This article was written by Emily Rauhala and Damian Paletta, reporters for The Washington Post.

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