China proposes retaliatory tariffs on $60B of USA products

04 August, 2018, 02:57 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • US-China trade war may raise gadget prices

China's government has announced a $60 billion list of USA goods including coffee, honey and industrial chemicals for retaliation if Washington goes ahead with its latest tariff threat.

Beijing fought back with matching tariffs on the same amount of US exports to China.

Michael Pillsbury, director of the Centre for Chinese Strategy at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, said at an event in Beijing on Monday that despite the dispute between the USA and China, the relationship between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping was strong.

The United States was the fourth-largest supplier of foreign chocolate products to China in 2017, worth around $24 million, after Italy, Russia and Belgium, according to customs data.

Why is China threatening more tariffs?

Signalling the nation's readiness to respond to higher tariffs threatened by Donald Trump on $200bn of Chinese imports, officials in Beijing said countermeasures were ready and waiting for the next move from Washington.

The trade war between the two superpowers has escalated in recent months after Donald Trump's administration imposed tariffs on $34bn of Chinese goods in July.

Today's threat targeting a smaller amount of USA goods reflects the fact that Beijing is running out of products for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the United States.

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But Trump raised the stakes this week with his threat to raise the tariff rate. China vowed to retaliate while also urging Washington to act rationally and return to talks to resolve the dispute.

"The politicians just watched as other countries stole our jobs, plundered our wealth and got the crown jewels of the American economy", he told supporters.

The White House issued a statement Friday, condemning the proposal. The vast majority of economists expect that rush to buy before the trade war escalated will be followed by lower than usual exports in the second half of the year.

"Any unilateral threat or blackmail will only lead to intensification of conflicts and damage to the interests of all parties".

The last time China was hit hard by growth fears, the shock waves rattled financial markets around the world, including in the U.S. In August 2015, the People's Bank of China stunned investors by lowering its target level for the yuan against the dollar, triggering a global selloff in stocks.

Washington and Beijing are locked in a battle over American accusations that China's export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of American technological know-how.

For the first half of 2018, the trade deficit in goods and services hit $291.2 billion, the federal government reported Friday, which is higher than previous year and puts the nation on track to have the largest annual deficit since 2008.

The latest Chinese response shows the limits of Beijing's ability to hit back at Washington dollar for dollar, given that China's exports to the United States far exceed its USA imports.

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