China trade war escalates as latest tariffs kick in
Aug 24, 2018, 03:29
The United States on Thursday imposed steep import tariffs on another US$16 billion of Chinese goods over what Washington has called rampant theft of American technology, even as trade negotiators were in talks to avert further confrontation.
The world's two largest economies have slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on a combined £77bn ($100bn) of products since July.
The Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times said in an editorial late Wednesday that the Chinese delegation shouldn't feel too much pressure over the outcome of talks.
Chinese authorities have said they will take "comprehensive measures", which companies worry could mean targeting operations of American businesses in China for disruption.
China had to "continue to make the necessary counterattacks", the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement immediately after the tariffs began around midnight on the US East Coast (0400 GMT).
Beijing has rejected US demands to scale back plans for state-led technology development that its trading partners say violate its market-opening commitments and that American officials worry might erode the United States' industrial leadership.
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"While Trump has said these trade tariffs will benefit the USA economy, no economist polled by Reuters shared that view", the news service reported.
Trump has warned that he could tax up to $550 billion in Chinese products, exceeding the US' total imports from China during 2017.
"They're not going to give that up easily".
The Trump administration says the aggressive stance is meant to pressure Beijing to change policies that allow and encourage the theft of United States technology and unfairly undercut American producers. But at the end of the day, we have many more bullets than they do. An NBC/Marist poll of Texas voters released this week shows that 40 percent believe tariffs will hurt the economy while only 31 percent say they will protect jobs.
That makes it $50 billion worth of imports subjected to tariffs on either side since early July, and more are in the pipeline, adding to risks for global economic growth.
With no settlement in sight, economists warn the conflict could spread and knock up to 0.5 percentage points off global economic growth through 2020.
The tariffs took effect amid two days of talks in Washington between mid-level officials from both sides, the first formal negotiations since U.S. Commerce Secretary met with Chinese economic adviser Liu He in Beijing in June.
Implementation of the latest 25 percent tariffs on Thursday did not derail the talks, led by U.S. Treasury Under Secretary David Malpass and Chinese Commerce Vice Minister Wang Shouwen.
Trump's hard line has rattled Beijing and spurred criticism within Chinese policy circles over its handling of the trade war, sources have said.
Chinese-made children's shoes carrying a Chinese map and US flags are displayed for sale in a shop in Beijing.
China denies the allegations and its state media has said Beijing will not be cowed by Washington's threats. In response, the Chinese delegation could this week offer a private pledge not to let the currency weaken further as long as negotiations continue, said Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
However, Federal Reserve officials have warned that "an escalation in worldwide trade disputes was a potentially consequential downside risk for real activity", according to the minutes of the July 31-August 1 policy meeting.
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