China: Tit-for-tat tariffs will ‘destroy’ US-China trade

11 July, 2018, 08:58 | Author: Kevin Carter
  • Dealing rooms were in sombre mood early

It also includes consumer goods ranging from auto tires, furniture, wood products, handbags and suitcases, to dog and cat food, baseball gloves, carpets, doors, bicycles, skis, golf bags, toilet paper and beauty products. "In order to safeguard the core interests of the country and the fundamental interests of the people, the Chinese government will, as always, have to make the necessary counter-measures".

U-S Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says tariffs of 10 percent could be imposed as soon as September in response to Beijing's retaliatory measures against earlier U-S tariffs.

The office will accept public comments and hold hearings on the plan August 20-23 before reaching a decision after August 31, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Although it was not a direct reaction to the new move from Trump's administration, the official English-language newspaper China Daily said in an editorial that Beijing had to stand up to Washington.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer late Tuesday accused China of retaliating to its tariffs "without any global legal basis or justification".

For now, the USTR continues to work on the process of finalising an additional US$16 billion in goods to face 25 per cent tariffs to bring the total up to US$50 billion.

China 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 financial markets, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.5 percent, while the main indexes in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell more than 2 percent.

But Trump has said continuously that China has taken advantage of the U.S. economy, and he has vowed to hit almost all the country's products with tariffs, as much as US$450 billion.

More news: Belgium boss eager to face Brazil as underdogs at World Cup

The new list published on Tuesday targets many more consumer goods than those covered under the tariffs imposed last week, raising the direct threat to consumers and retail firms. "Given China's likelihood of retaliation, it's also billions worth of new tariffs on American exporters".

"Tonight's announcement appears reckless and is not a targeted approach, " Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in a statement.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, a lobby group representing the largest USA retailers, said: "The president has broken his promise to bring 'maximum pain on China, minimum pain on consumers'".

The trade confrontation between Washington and Beijing has been escalating for months, despite Trump's repeated statements that he has a good relationship with China's President Xi Jinping.

China's exports have mushroomed since it joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001, making it the world's second-largest economy and prompting widening criticism in recent years from trading partners that it has unfairly used global trade rules to its advantage.

"The outburst of large-scale mutual levying of tariffs between China and the United States will inevitably destroy Sino-US trade", said the assistant minister of commerce Li Chenggang. "At the same time, we call on the global community to work together to safeguard the rules of free trade and the multilateral trading system and jointly oppose trade hegemony", it added.

"It looks like the US just took the scale of the trade frictions to another level", Li said at a forum in Beijing.

At a forum in Beijing, a senior official accused the United States of "damaging the world economic order" and said tit-for-tat tariffs would "destroy" trade between the rival powers.

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