Friday 20 April 2018

China vows retaliation as Trump ramps up tariff threat

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

Tom Daly

China warned yesterday that it would fight back "at any cost" with fresh trade measures if the United States continues on its path of protectionism, hours after President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs on an additional $100bn (€81bn) in Chinese goods.

Mr Trump said the United States has already lost any trade war, as he defended his proposed tariffs, saying the move might cause "a little pain" but the United States will be better off in the long run.

"We've already lost the trade war. We don't have a trade war, we've lost the trade war," Mr Trump said in a radio interview. In a Twitter message on Wednesday, he had said: "That war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the US."

In light of China's "unfair retaliation" against earlier US trade actions, Mr Trump upped the ante on Thursday by ordering US officials to identify extra tariffs, escalating a high stakes tit-for-tat confrontation with potentially damaging consequences for the world's two biggest economies.

On Wednesday, China unveiled a list of 106 US goods - from soybeans and whiskey to frozen beef and aircraft - targeted for tariffs, in a swift retaliatory move only hours after the Trump administration proposed duties on some 1,300 Chinese industrial, technology, transport and medical products.

Washington has called for the $50bn in extra duties after it said a probe determined Chinese government policies are designed to transfer US intellectual property to Chinese companies and allow them to seize leadership in key high-technology industries of the future.

Responding to Mr Trump's latest comments, the Chinese commerce ministry reiterated that China was not afraid of a trade war even though it did not seek one, and accused the US of provoking the conflict.

"If the United States disregards the objections of China and the international community and persists in unilateralism and trade protectionism, the Chinese side will follow through to the end, at any cost, and definitely fight back resolutely," a spokesperson was quoted as saying. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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