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12 July 2018, 07:30 | Tara Lloyd
US prepares to impose new tariffs on additional $200B worth of Chinese goods
More than 6,031 product lines are affected by the proposed tariffs, including seafood, fruits and vegetables, grains, tobacco, auto rearview mirrors and burglar alarms.
The list is subject to two months of finalization and input before possible implementation by President Donald Trump.
The market slide may have been contained in part by speculation the Trump administration could change its mind by the end of August, when the tariffs are due to come into effect, some strategists said.
The products include various food items, chemicals, minerals, tobacco, electronics and office goods. USA officials insist China's retaliatory tariffs are unjustified. The moves followed an initial raft of 25 percent tariffs announced Friday by the USA on $34 billion in Chinese exports, which was reciprocated by China.
But given that China imported only US$130 billion of goods from the United States a year ago, it will not be able to impose reciprocal tariffs and will have to look for other ways to hit back. Trump said in June that the United States would be willing to enact a fourth round of tariffs on goods worth $200 billion if China retaliated yet again.
"This new round of proposed tariffs takes the fight onto yet another level from which it is going to be hard for either side to make a graceful retreat", said Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monteary Fund's China division.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed Chinese officials, said Beijing was considering holding up licenses for US companies, delaying approvals of mergers involving USA firms and stepping up border inspections of American goods.
The latest round of proposed tariffs come a few days after the USA government unveiled procedures for companies to apply for exclusions from the first round of tariffs, which went into effect July 6.
European stock markets are expected to follow Asia's lead, as economics warn that a trade war would cause serious economic harm.
Stocks fell sharply Wednesday as concerns over escalating trade tensions threatened to erase the week's gains.
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The Chinese commerce ministry said that it was "shocked at the U.S. action" and warned that it would be forced to retaliate "to protect the core interests of the nation and its people".
Investors were wary of China response to the latest US tariff threat, as the country's assistant commerce minister said the proposed USA duties harm the World Trade Organization system and globalisation.
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Investors said trade war worries may slip to the background as investors begin to focus more closely on second-quarter earnings over the coming weeks.
The US is levying these tariffs because of what it describes as China's unfair trade practices, including forcing US companies operating in China to transfer technology to the Chinese.
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