Stocks tumble on latest Trump-China trade threats

20 June, 2018, 06:13 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Trump threatens to impose more trade tariffs on China

Are US and China on the brink of a trade war?

The U.S. imported $505 billion of goods from China a year ago and exported about $130 billion, leaving a 2017 trade deficit of $376 billion, according to U.S. government figures.

At the heart of the dispute is the ballooning trade deficit between the United States and China.

Two decades ago, China's economy was largely fuelled by exports, but it has made progress in rebalancing towards domestic investment and consumption since the global financial crisis erupted last decade - limiting the damage trade tariffs could inflict on Beijing.

Tom Orlik, chief economist at Bloomberg Economics, said that in the event that China's exports to the US weaken in the face of tariffs, the government would likely seek to offset the growth impact with a combination of subsidies to support domestic demand and higher infrastructure investment.

The administration says that China is trying to maintain a permanent and unfair advantage.

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Due to Beijing matching the total amount of goods hit with tariffs, Trump said on Monday US time that China was "threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong".

U.S. stock markets fell sharply on Tuesday morning, following similar drops across the world, as investors feared that escalating tensions could trigger an worldwide trade war.

The Shanghai exchange dropped 3.8 percent overnight, while the Shenzhen stock market fell 5.77 percent.

In response, Beijing confirmed during the weekend it would bring in tit-for-tat tariffs on $34 billion of U.S. imports next month. He did not say when the new target list would be unveiled.

China's commerce ministry immediately responded by saying the U.S. "practice of extreme pressure and blackmail departed from the consensus reached by both sides during multiple negotiations and has also greatly disappointed worldwide society".

In Beijing, China's Commerce Ministry responded swiftly to Trump's latest threat, warning that if the United States imposed fresh tariffs, China would have to adopt "comprehensive measures combining quantity and quality to make a strong countermeasure".

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Apple is also concerned that the Chinese government will point to the way that Huawei has been accused of being a threat to US national security, and take some type of action against Apple.

The U.S. blocked ZTE's access to U.S. suppliers in April, saying the company violated a 2017 sanctions settlement related to trading with Iran and North Korea and then lied about the violations.

Hong Kong also faced an "unquantifiable impact from the spillover" of the dispute between the U.S. and Europe, which could trigger trade to divert from Hong Kong to other countries, he said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been hard at work trying to make peace before the brewing trade war with the US and China blows up.

The tariffs could affect $50-$60 billion worth of goods and increase trade tensions. A punitive duty the Trump administration applied to lumber imports from Canada has raised the price of a new home by $9,000, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

These include major American exports to China such as soybeans, which brought in $14 billion in sales past year and are grown in states that supported Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

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Trump called the tariffs "essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs". That means things like tourism and education, industries from which the United States benefits a lot more than China does.

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