Wed, Sep 19, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Beijing takes retaliatory tariff action

ESCALATING TRADE WAR:The move follows Washington’s announcement of a 10 percent tariff on about US$200 billion in Chinese goods effective Monday next week

Bloomberg

A photo released yesterday shows a woman working at a Talak textile factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, China, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

China yesterday announced that it would take retaliatory tariff action against US$60 billion of US goods, sharply escalating the trade war as US President Donald Trump’s administration considers imposing duties on virtually all Chinese imports.

China’s retaliatory tariffs, ranging from 5 to 10 percent on more than 5,000 items, are to take effect on Monday next week, the Chinese Ministry of Finance said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Beijing is still ready to negotiate an end to the trade tensions, it said.

At almost the same time the tariff list was released in Beijing, Trump threatened more countermeasures against China if it targets politically potent US agricultural products for retaliation.

“China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me,” Trump said on Twitter. “What China does not understand is that these people are great patriots and fully understand that.”

In an announcement on Monday, Trump ordered his administration to levy 10 percent tariffs on about US$200 billion in Chinese goods on Monday next week and to more than double the rate in January if Beijing refuses to offer trade concessions.

The latest round of duties comes on top of a 25 percent tariff already imposed on about US$50 billion in Chinese goods.

Trump said that the US would immediately pursue additional tariffs on about US$267 billion of Chinese imports if Beijing hits back to the US$200 billion round.

The US administration said it is giving US businesses a chance to adjust and look for alternative supply chains by delaying an increase to 25 percent on Jan. 1 for the US$200 billion batch of Chinese goods, said two senior US administration officials who briefed reporters on Monday.

“For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices, and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies,” Trump said. “We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices.”

Smart watches and Bluetooth devices were removed from the tariff list, along with bicycle helmets, high chairs, children’s car seats, playpens and certain industrial chemicals.

They were among 300 tariff lines scrubbed from the preliminary list released in July, one of the officials said.

No items were added, the officials said.

“We were trying to do things that were least intrusive on the consumer,” US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said yesterday on CNBC. “We really went item-by-item trying to figure out what would accomplish the punitive purpose on China and yet with the least disruption in the US.”

Trump continues to ratchet up pressure on Beijing to change its trade practices. Business leaders are warning the high-stakes strategy could upend their supply chains and raise costs, as economists worry Trump’s tactics could derail the broadest global upswing in years.

The US Chamber of Commerce, retailers, agricultural groups and some members of the Republican Party have spoken against his tariff campaign.

It has also divided his advisers between China hawks like US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, a former banker who is seeking a trade deal.

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