China says USA tariff threat runs against trend of the times

Gladys Abbott
August 3, 2018

President Trump has threatened to escalate his trade war with China once again, asking the Commerce Department to consider a new 25% tariff on $200 billion in annual imports from China.

This is perhaps why the Trump administration is playing hard ball choosing this precise moment to threaten a second round of 25 percent tariffs on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods July 6 and sources say more penalties could come.

Wednesday's move means when the latest tariffs have been introduced, the White House will have imposed levies on more than $250 billion of Chinese exports to the U.S., although it has threatened to target the full $500 billion of goods that China exports to America each year.

The initial set of tariffs and reprisals led to talks between Washington and Beijing, and Trump and his administration touted a deal that they said would lead to hundreds of billions of dollars worth of additional US exports to China.

The public comment period on the US tariffs aimed at $US200 billion ends on August 30 after public hearings August 20-23, according to the US Trade Representative's office.

"The increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is meant to provide the Administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behavior and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets and prosperity for all of our citizens", Lighthizer said. Officials in Beijing have vowed to respond with the same amount of tariffs on US products.

Trump's trade fights, including the battle with China, are starting to seep into the United States economy based on recent data.

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"If the USA takes measures to further escalate the situation, we will surely take countermeasures to uphold our legitimate rights and interests", said Geng Shuang, spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, at a regular press conference.

China on Thursday (Aug 2) urged the United States to return to reason after the Trump administration sought to ratchet up pressure for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25 per cent tariff on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Urging cooler heads in Washington to prevail, Mr Wang made the case that USA tariffs would hurt its own consumers and businesses, given how globalised trade is today.

Markets were however steady on Tuesday, given a boost by hopes for new negotiations. Global stocks took a tumble on Wednesday as news spread about U.S. plans for steeper tariffs.

It would represent a ramping up of pressure over Washington's trade standoff with Beijing. Beijing retaliated with matching tariffs on the same amount of us exports to China. "Now, the USA coerces and pressures others unilaterally".

Tariffs on another $16bn of products are pending, the second part of tariffs on $50bn worth of imports that the U.S. announced in March.

Some US politicians expressed support for the White House move. China responded by implementing its own penalties on USA goods.

Lighthizer told reporters on Wednesday that the additional tariffs are necessary because the original duties did not prompt China to change its trade policy.

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