Trump ignites trade war with China, triggering swift retaliation

17 June, 2018, 02:14 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Donald Trump in China

United States President Donald Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods on Friday.

The moves brought the world's two largest economies to the verge of an all-out confrontation long feared by markets an industry.

President Donald Trump has vowed to clamp down on what he calls China's unfair trade practices, but denied there was a trade war after announcing the tariffs.

"If the USA takes unilateral and protectionist measures that harm Chinese interests, we will respond immediately by taking the necessary decisions to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said earlier on Friday.

China will "immediately introduce taxation measures of the same scale and the same strength", the Chinese Commerce Ministry said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were all with Trump in a meeting Thursday when the president made the decision, said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who declined to confirm what was decided.

China and the USA are major seafood trading partners beyond just lobster, and the new tariffs would apply to dozens of products that China imports from the USA, including salmon, tuna and crab.

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The statement also said China was not going forward with deals to buy more American goods.

The first wave of USA tariffs, affecting $34 billion worth of Chinese goods across 818 product categories, goes into effect on July 6.

The White House has announced a 25 percent levy on technology-related products worth around $50 billion.

Donald Trump has warned that if China retaliates, the U.S. will impose even more tariffs.

In response, Beijing has also drawn up a list of $50bn in USA products that would face retaliatory tariffs, including beef and soybeans.

Tariffs on $34 billion of goods will take effect from July 6, according to Reuters.

According to the state media, Xinhua, the Chinese government imposed additional duties of 25 per cent on 659 items of American products, while also revealed a list of items which will be subjected to additional tariffs.

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The United States has already imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

In a statement Friday, Trump pledged additional tariffs if China follows through on the threat to fight back.

"In this trade war, it's the United States who is playing the role of provocateur, while China plays defence", said the Global Times, a newspaper published by the ruling Communist Party.

ZTE last week agreed to pay a US$1 billion fine to the United States government to end a crippling supplier ban imposed after it broke an agreement to discipline executives who conspired to evade United States sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

China has retaliated against the tariffs in two stages, calibrated with the steps being taken by the US. "Those are crown jewels for this country", Trump said.

"We urge President Trump to reassess the approach, engage in real negotiations with China, and work with allies to change Chinese policies".

So far, companies with business in China have mostly kept low profiles, hoping the USA and China would strike a deal, according to Samm Sacks, a senior fellow in the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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"We have taken essentially a defensive action", a senior USA official told reporters, adding that "further threats that are going to hurt other industries.would be a mistake". (ZTCOY.PK) In April, the USA banned ZTE from buying American technology for seven years, effectively putting the company out of business.

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