Trump readies tariffs on another $US200m of Chinese goods

11 July, 2018, 23:37 | Author: Wade Massey
  • There are fears a trade war could hammer the global economyMore

China on Wednesday said tit-for-tat tariffs will "destroy" trade between the world's top two economies, after Washington fired the next shot in a ballooning trade war, readying fresh levies on $ 200 billion in Chinese goods.

"In light of China's decision to respond to the investigation by imposing duties on USA goods, the Trade Representative proposes a modification of the action taken in this investigation". It's unclear what that action could include.

This builds on 25 per cent tariffs on $US34 billion worth of Chinese imports into the US that took effect at midnight on Friday, and carries out US President Donald Trump's threat to respond to any Chinese retaliation to those taxes.

High-level talks between the two countries starting in May had failed to deliver a breakthrough to head off a trade war.

United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer announced that the U.S. was acting because China had not heeded previous warnings.

"The Chinese side is shocked by the actions of the United States", it said in a statement, according to a translation by Google. China then fired back with retaliatory tariffs on $34 billion worth of US goods, including soybeans and pork.

China meanwhile said it was "shocked" and warned it would impose countermeasures "to safeguard the core interests of the country and the fundamental interests of the people".

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The 200-page document, released on Tuesday by the US Trade Representative's office, gives notice to those who wish to comment on the proposal and lists hundreds of products that would be subjected to the new tariffs.

Crude oil prices also sank heavily on concerns that a trade war could sap demand for the commodity that greases the wheels of the global economy - a concern echoed in OPEC's latest monthly report on Wednesday. These tactics include the outright theft of trade secrets, government subsidies to homegrown tech firms and demands that US and other foreign companies hand over technology if they want access to China's vast market.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement that this is "an appropriate response", as China has for years "pursued abusive trading practices with regard to intellectual property and innovation".

US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch described the move was "reckless".

China's Commerce Ministry slammed the latest USA threat as a "totally unacceptable" escalation of their dispute and promised to protect its "core interests".

"Right now, world trade is relatively chaotic". That would leave China only US$80 billion for further retaliation.

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