How will the US-China trade war impact South Africa?

22 June, 2018, 11:38 | Author: Regina Silva
  • White House downplays China trade tensions as ‘dispute

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a television interview Thursday defended the Trump administration's decision to impose tariffs, saying the United States' actions are a defense against years of "bad practice".

From the start of June, the European Union has been hit by tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium imports imposed by US President Donald Trump, who has justified the move on the grounds of national security.

From today the European Union will begin charging import duties of 25pc on a range of United States goods, in response to U.S. tariffs imposed on EU steel and aluminium early this month.

"If we chose products like Harley Davidson, peanut butter and bourbon, it's because there are alternatives on the market".

Trump has also imposed tariffs on other trade partners as well, slapping another 25 per cent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods last week.

"We have a trade war - and it's an escalating trade war", SEB chief economist Robert Bergqvist told AFP in an interview.

The Global Times, a widely read tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, said in an editorial China needed to be realistic about how it could handle the United States and look at other strategies.

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When a trade war happens, it just doesn't affect the two economies involved but all the economies open to world trade.

Beijing has sought to portray itself as the guardian of global free trade, a crown that has been abandoned by the United States since Trump took office in 2017 with his protectionist agenda.

Together with U.S. tariffs against Mexico and Canada, the trade battles have raised the spectre of a global trade war, spooking financial markets that fear major consequences to the global economy.

Chinese shares fell 1.2 percent on Thursday on investor worries about the trade dispute, with the Shanghai index languishing at a two-year low.

The Commission formally adopted a law putting in place the duties on 2.8 billion euros (RM12.9 billion) worth of USA goods, including steel and aluminium products, farm produce such as corn and peanuts, bourbon, jeans, and motorcycles.

The basic economic principles of demand and supply come into play.

"We did not want to be in this position". The tariffs, mostly 25 percent, are designed in part to "make noise" by targeting politically important states like Kentucky, Florida, and Wisconsin, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.

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