China says it will hit back at United States for ‘completely unacceptable’ tariffs

12 Julio, 2018, 13:43 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Workers assembling smartphones in Guang'an Sichuan

The Chinese commerce ministry has slammed the USA plan to impose tariffs on additional imports worth some $200 billion as totally unacceptable, promising a mirror response to defend its national interests.

But the US action drew a swift reaction from the plastics and petrochemical industries, with the head of the Plastics Industry Association saying the tariffs would "boomerang" and hurt manufacturing.

He said: "As in the past, the United States is willing to engage in efforts that could lead to a resolution of our concerns about China's unfair trade practices and to China opening its market to USA goods and services".

"This is a fight between unilateralism and multilateralism, protectionism and free trade, might and rules", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing on Wednesday.

Beijing gave no details of the possible retaliation but earlier it threatened "comprehensive measures".

President Donald Trump vowed to hit back on a growing list of products after China retaliated in kind for the first round of 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of imports that Washington imposed last week.

The initial USA tariff list focused on Chinese industrial products in an attempt to limit the impact on American consumers.

It also includes consumer goods ranging from auto tires, furniture, wood products, handbags and suitcases, to dog and cat food, baseball gloves, carpets, doors, bicycles, skis, golf bags, toilet paper and beauty products.

"For over a year, the Trump Administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition", Lighthizer says.

"The latest list of $200 billion of products to be subject to tariffs against China doubles down on a reckless strategy that will boomerang back to harm US families and workers".

"The Chinese government as always will have no choice but to take the necessary countermeasures", said China's ministry of commerce in a statement, without elaborating further. Each side is planning tariffs on a further $16 billion in goods that would bring the totals to $50 billion.

In financial markets, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.5 percent, while the main indexes in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell more than 2 percent.

S&P 500 and Dow futures dropped around 1 percent, pointing to a weak opening on Wall Street later on Wednesday.

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The onshore yuan tracked its offshore counterpart lower with traders closely watching the key 6.7 per dollar level as pressure mounted on the currency.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods - roughly the total amount of U.S. imports from China past year.

Oliver Jones from Capital Economics has warned that China's response to Trump's latest tariff threat could hit the U.S. stock market hard.

The latest round of import taxes on Chinese goods has a two month public commentary period and the USA administration is being open about the fact that they expect China to discuss the move leading one to wonder if it will actually be imposed.

China 'cannot match fresh USA tariffs, ' Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank said.

US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch described the move was "reckless".

The US Chamber of Commerce, which has supported Trump's tax cuts and efforts to reduce regulation of businesses, also criticised the administration's move.

"But more tariffs like these will punish America's manufacturing workers - and could undermine our hard-won gains thanks to tax and regulatory reform". Imposing taxes on another $200 billion worth of products will raise the costs of every-day goods for American families, farmers, ranchers, workers, and job creators.

The survey showed 53 percent of companies increased investment in 2017, down from 55 percent the year before, highlighting a trend of reduced investment growth since a 2012 peak, when 74 percent of respondents said they had boosted investment in China.

The earliest they would come into effect is September.

"Unfortunately, China has not changed its behavior - behavior that puts the future of the USA economy at risk".

South Korea's government has weighed in this morning, warning that its exports could be hurt by the escalating dispute between Washington and Beijing. During a visit to Germany this week by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the countries signed business deals worth more than $23 billion.

"Unilateral actions that alienate long-standing USA allies and close off the US market to the rest of the world are not a recipe for economic growth and prosperity and are very unlikely to change China's unfair practices", ACC said.

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