China appeals for US calm after new tariff threat

Aug 05, 2018, 02:00
China appeals for US calm after new tariff threat

Last month, the US proposed 10 percent tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese products, a response to China's retaliation.

Trump said last month that he's willing to impose tariffs on every good imported from China, which totaled more than $500 billion previous year.

Lighthizer noted that if tariffs are increased to 25 percent, they would be applied to the proposed list of products that were announced on July 10.

In a statement, Lighthizer said the proposed higher tariff is meant to provide the administration with additional options to encourage Beijing to change its trade practices.

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"We said before that this round of tariffs amounted to doubling down on the recklessness of imposing trade policy that will hurt USA families and workers more than they will hurt China", said Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation. The US had threatened an additional US$200 billion with levies of 10%, a level the administration may raise to 25% in a Federal Register notice in coming days, one of the people said.

Trump's tariffs target goods the White House says benefit from industrial policies such as "Made in China 2025", which calls for developing Chinese competitors in robotic, artificial intelligence and other fields. President Trump wants to reduce this deficit and has planned to implement tariffs against certain Chinese imports.

"Unilateral threats and pressure will only produce the opposite of the desired result", Geng said.

Despite last week's apparent cooling off of the trade tensions between the U.S. and Europe following Trump's meeting with the European Commission's Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Union clearly doesn't believe the agreement to work towards lower tariff barriers will hold.

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Trump has shown a willingness to try to isolate countries like Canada and China that he believes aren't quickly offering the types of concessions he has demanded.

Meanwhile, the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents major IT users like Google, Facebook and Microsoft, immediately called the move by the administration "irresponsible, counterproductive", and said it would "only do more harm to Americans across the country". The U.S. responded by promising to support farmers with $12 billion in emergency aid aimed at making farmers better able to withstand the loss of sales to China.

Administration officials at the time said the tariff fight was aimed at forcing China to stop stealing American intellectual property and to abandon policies that effectively force US companies to surrender their trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market. "If the United States takes measures to further escalate the situation, we will surely take countermeasures to uphold our legitimate rights and interests", spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference yesterday. The trade talks between Washington and Beijing have bogged down in recent weeks, a period in which the two nations have imposed reciprocal tariff hikes on various products.

Trump administration officials say the U.S.'s robust economy gives it the high ground in the trade battle against China, which is showing signs of an economic slowdown. Chinese officials haven't yet commented on the prospects for resuming talks. The United States slapped duties on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, provoking a similar response from China.

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