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White House Hits China With New Tariffs, Ramping up Trade War

17 June 2018, 02:10 | Vera Richards


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The government said it was responding in "equal scale" to the tariff increases Trump announced on Friday on Chinese goods in a conflict over Beijing's trade surplus and technology policies.

China will immediately retaliate against any move by the U.S.to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods, the foreign ministry said Friday. "The United States can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices", he said.

"China is our real trade enemy, and their theft of intellectual property and their refusal to let our companies compete fairly threatens millions of future American jobs", Schumer said.

The announcement confirms a threat first made by President Donald Trump in March and follows months of trade talks between the two sides. Another 280 or so still need to undergo a public comment period, and will take effect later.

The US Trade Representative posted the full list [PDF], which includes a number of products used for computing and telecoms products, including semiconductor manufacturing and printing tools, and individually shielded optical wireless cables.

About 500 goods initially targeted for sanctions in March were stricken from the list at the behest of U.S. firms that rely on imports.

Washington has also completed a second list of possible tariffs on another US$100 billion of Chinese goods, in the expectation that China will respond to the initial U.S. tariff list in kind, sources said.

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The State Council said another 114 items will be subject to tariffs at a later date, the news agency said.

"All the economic and trade achievements previously reached by the two parties will no longer be valid at the same time", CNBC reported Beijing as having said.

"It is deeply regrettable that in disregard of the consensus between the two sides, the US has demonstrated flip-flops and ignited a trade war", the ministry said.

"We call on all countries to take joint actions, resolutely put an end to this outdated and regressive behavior and firmly defend the common interests of humankind", the Chinese government wrote in the statement. But U.S. industries that have held their own in the global economy also stand to take a hit.

The US imported more than USD$2.7 billion (NZD$3.8 billion) in Chinese seafood a year ago, and the US exported more than USD$1.3 billion (NZD$1.8 billion) to China.

For context, China exported about $505 billion in goods to the U.S.in 2017, so this hits about 10 percent of goods that come here from China.

But Trump's China trade offensive is only one side of his multi-front confrontation with all major USA economic partners.

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Earlier, trade expert Stephen Jacobi told NBR that while New Zealand has few exports in the areas targetted by Mr Trump for tariffs (our steel and aluminium exports to the USA a year ago totalled $60m), there could be a substantial indirect cost. Trump targeted Chinese industrial and agricultural machinery, aerospace parts and communications technology.

And he warned that any retaliation by Beijing would trigger another round of tariffs on Chinese goods.

The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents vehicle parts makers, called the tariffs "taxes that hurt U.S. companies, put jobs at risk, and negatively impact consumers".

Trump's new 25 percent tariffs will target $50 billion in Chinese imports across a wide variety of industries.

"There isn't one country who would give up their rights to advance technology and make industrial upgrades", said the Global Times editorial.

He also noted that the metals tariffs have pushed steel prices 40 percent higher since January.

Although shares of some tariff-sensitive companies fell on Wall Street, the stock market overall fell only modestly.

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