China slaps additional tariffs on $50 billion worth of US goods
17 June, 2018, 04:45 | Author: Wade Massey
The Trump administration announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion worth of Chinese imports on Friday, instantly escalating a trade dispute between the world's two largest economies. A statement from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said that the country would implement tariffs on a similar scale on USA goods.
The announcement caps months of sometimes fraught shuttle diplomacy between Washington and Beijing, in which Chinese offers to purchase more US goods failed to assuage Trump's grievances over the soaring US-China trade imbalance and Beijing's industrial development policies. Among the affected $16 billion in US goods include crude oil, natural gas, coal and some refined oil products.
"The whole world will be picking up the bill for the mistaken acts of USA unilateralism". Caterpillar Inc, another big exporter to China, ended 2 percent lower. But a recent study published by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association predicted a $2 billion to $3 billion annual hit to US economic welfare if the Chinese retaliate to new USA tariffs with a 25 percent tariff on USA soybeans.
As it had before, the Trump administration said the tariffs are a response to what it sees as unfair trade policies and intellectual property theft by the Chinese government on behalf of its own companies.
The statement said the USA step on Friday violated "the relevant rules of the World Trade Organization" and went against a consensus reached in bilateral economic and trade agreements.
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. The new list includes more agricultural produce, including dairy, alfalfa and seafood, than a initial group published in April.
The U.S. Trade Representative's final list includes 1,102 product lines, down from about 1,300 initially, mainly focused on China's Made In 2025 plan to become dominant in high-technology industries such as robotics, aerospace, industrial machinery and automobiles.
Tariffs on these products will go into effect after a public comment period. The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal were among the publications reporting overnight that Trump, fresh from his return from the Singapore Summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has chose to enact significant tariffs on Chinese goods.
The current dollar amount of USA tariffs imposed on Chinese goods are tiny, however, when compared to the size of the $18 trillion US economy.
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Workers transport imported soybeans at a port in Nantong in Jiangsu province of China. As a remedy, his trade team fixed their sights on such Chinese exports as video monitors with cathode ray tubes, dishwashers, bulldozers, motorcycles, locomotives, as well as "black and white or other monochrome video projectors".
On Friday, the USA imposed additional tariffs of 25 per cent on import of Chinese goods worth $ 50 billion.
American farmers export about $14 billion worth of soybeans to China each year.
Beijing and Washington have held three rounds of high-level talks since early May that have yet to yield a compromise.
The Chinese announcement is the latest volley in a trade dispute between China and the USA that has been escalating for months. The $50 billion in tariffs will likely mean just a tenth of a percentage point hit "at most" on annual USA economic growth and a similar jump in overall consumer prices, according to data from Barclays, the British bank.
China's government urged the United States to back down from its current course of action.
Ron Moore, who farms 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans in Roseville, Illinois, said soybean prices have already started dropping ahead of what looks like a trade war between the two economic powerhouses. He added: "Our hope is that it doesn't lead to a rash reaction from China".
Although shares of some tariff-sensitive companies fell on Wall Street, the stock market overall fell only modestly.
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