China says will 'fight back firmly' if USA publishes additional tariffs

20 June, 2018, 00:40 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Scott Sinklier  Newscom

China has underestimated President Donald Trump's resolve to press ahead with tariffs unless Beijing changes its "predatory" trade practices, a top US trade adviser said on Tuesday, in comments that undercut the chances of a negotiated settlement to a looming trade war between the world's economic superpowers.

"This is a global trade war, plain and simple, and the American families will be the ones who suffer most", added Hun Quach, vice president of worldwide trade for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.

United States officials will hold a press conference on the decision to impose further tariffs on China this morning. "We urge the administration to change course and to instead work with our allies on a focused, sustained strategy", a spokeswoman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said.

On Monday (Tuesday NZ time) US President Trump threatened tariffs on almost all of China's products shipped to the United States unless Beijing agrees to sweeping trade concessions.

Global markets have sunk due to fears that the United States and China may be veering toward an all-out trade war.

Trump's proposed new duties, as with the initial tariffs, alarmed the USA business community.

The US president said he had asked officials to target $200 billion (€172 billion) worth of imports - and threatened to increase taxes on Chinese exports to the US even further should he meet resistance from Beijing.

If President Donald Trump delivers on threats to slap 25 percent tariffs on imported automobiles and parts, experts say it will cut auto sales and cost jobs.

"The latest headlines from Trump are pushing investors to risk-off-mode", said Shintaro Ikeshima, chief manager of forex and financial products trading division at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corp. In late May, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had announced that the administration's trade actions against China were on hold, while negotiations proceeded.

"We don't want a trade war, but we're not afraid of a trade war, " ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

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"The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable", the president said in explaining his decision.

The potential tariffs released on Monday are in retalitation to that statement from China.

Beijing immediately retaliated by matching the USA levy, but Mr Trump asked officials on Monday to identify $200bn of Chinese goods to be subject to a 10% tariff.

China vowed to protect its interests, countering any United States tariffs imposed on its goods with a mirror response.

Tariffs on other United States goods will be announced at a later date, the Xinhua news agency reported.

"Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong", Trump said.

Being tough with China plays well with many of President Trump's supporters, actual and potential, at a time when he is looking ahead to the Congressional elections in November.

The White House hasn't set a date for the imposition of any new tariffs beyond the initial list. They include electric cars, whiskey and soybeans - a politically and economically vital export of America's heartland, where Trump enjoys support.

Trump had announced a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion in Chinese imports.

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