China responds to Trump tariffs

Tariffs on China could spark a response hitting agriculture tech and aerospace in the U.S

In a retaliatory move, China unveiled plans yesterday to impose higher tariffs on United States dollars 3 billion worth of American goods including pork and pipes in retaliation to USA tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Beijing.

The country's Commerce Ministry said Friday that the proposed trade sanctions would target US-made products ranging from pork to steel pipes.

Wei Jianguo, vice chairman of Beijing-based think tank China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, told China Daily that Beijing could impose tariffs on more US products, and is considering a second and even third list of targets.

China is planning to impose its own tariffs on United States imports, in retaliation against tariffs on Chinese goods that the White House has announced.

China's ambassador to the USA wouldn't rule out the possibility of the Asian nation scaling back purchases of Treasuries in response to tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump.

In addition to the tariffs, the U.S. also plans to impose new investment restrictions, take action against China at the World Trade Organization and the Treasury Department also will propose additional measures.

The Chinese commerce ministry says it will impose its tariffs in two stages if the USA and China fail to come to an agreement on trade issues.

"They need to watch for what the two countries actually do - and not what they say they're going to do", he said.

Chinese officials are trying to figure out how to address USA concerns, said Jake Parker, vice president for China operations of the U.S. Within 15 days, USTR will come up with a proposed list of products that will face higher tariffs. It doesn't mean even a trade war. Washington has criticized China's construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement. The US trade deficit with China stood at $375 billion in 2017.

This restrictive trade policy will not only undercut USA agricultural exports and economic growth, but will also cause undue harm to America's agricultural communities, which will likely bear the brunt of China's retaliatory measures.

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Trump justified the move as a response to the theft of USA companies' intellectual property by the Chinese government. It also occurs through legal channels, such as when US companies are forced to form a joint venture with a Chinese business. China announced a more modest package of potential tariffs of its own and vowed to "fight to the end" to defend its interests if a trade war breaks out.

The tariffs will not take effect immediately.

Hours earlier, Trump signed an order that also could result in restrictions on Chinese investment in the USA, saying it would be the "first of many" trade actions.

As he signed the tariffs order, Trump told reporters, "This is the first of many".

Before Lighthizer's congressional testimony, Germany's economy minister, Peter Altmaier, said he had found officials in Washington "open to our arguments" during a recent visit with the European Union trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom.

One is that USA consumers will be hurt.

"China's response should follow the principle of a precision strike", wrote Mei Xinyu, a researcher at a Commerce Ministry think-tank in an opinion piece for China Daily.

The U.S. has complained for years about China's sharp-elbowed trading practices, accusing it of pirating trade secrets, manipulating its currency, forcing foreign companies to hand over technology, and flooding world markets with cheap steel and aluminum that drive down prices and put U.S. manufacturers out of business.

"The effects are likely to be felt more strongly in the USA, and increase both consumer and producer prices", JP Morgan Asset Management global market strategist Hannah Anderson said.

The government also criticized the use of the national security rationale and said it destabilizes worldwide order.

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