Thursday 19 July 2018

China vows to retaliate against Trump's $50bn of tariffs

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

Andrew Mayeda and Jenny Leonard

US President Donald Trump moved the US to the brink of a trade war with China, announcing tariffs on $50bn in Chinese imports. America's biggest trading partner vowed to retaliate.

China will impose duties with "equal scale, equal intensity" on imports from the US and all the consensus the two sides reached earlier will lose effect, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website yesterday. The statement was later removed, but China's response signaled a rapid escalation of the dispute. In an emailed statement, Mr Trump pledged additional tariffs if China follows through on the retaliation threats.

The first wave of tariffs will total $34bn and take effect on July 6, with another $16bn still to be reviewed, the US Trade Representative said. The USTR's final list includes 1,102 product lines including robotics, aerospace, industrial machinery and cars. Not included are consumer goods including mobile phones and televisions.

"The United States can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices," Trump said.

The US is already at loggerheads with its traditional allies in Europe and North America after imposing tariffs.

Criticism to the latest move from the American business community came swiftly. "Imposing tariffs places the cost of China's unfair trade practices squarely on the shoulders of American consumers, manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers," Thomas Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce, said.

The US imported $505bn of goods from China last year and exported about $130bn, a deficit of $376bn in China's favour.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel implied a new front in the trade row with the United States yesterday, hinting at competition probes of US internet giants.

Mr Trump has cited national security as a reason to threaten punitive tariffs on German cars.

Speaking at an event to mark 70 years of Germany's "social market" economic model, Ms Merkel said the market dominance of giant US internet platforms also posed a challenge to Europe's social model. (Bloomberg/Reuters)

Irish Independent

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