Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Trump's Trade War Against China Is Officially Underway

US 'firing at itself' with trade measures: China China rejects ‘blackmail’ on eve of US tariff hike
Elsie Buchanan | 07 July, 2018, 03:04

Beijing has vowed to immediately respond with an equal amount of tariffs of its own against United States autos, agricultural and other products, though it is unclear how swiftly the actions could escalate into an all-out trade war.

US President Donald Trump began the trade dispute when he imposed 25 percent duties on approximately $34 billion (€29 billion) in Chinese machinery, electronics and high-tech equipment including autos, computer hard drives and LEDs.

Beijing has retaliated in kind, placing new charges on goods to the same value.

Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the US-China Business Council in Beijing, said: "For companies with supply exposure to tariffs, they will move sourcing country of origin if they can".

Similarly, China is placing 25% tariffs on a host of goods including crude oil and soybeans.

That was system that small countries like New Zealand relied to resolve issues of trade conflict.

Under the banner of his "America First" policy, Trump has also targeted other traditional trade partners of the United States, such as the European Union, Japan, Mexico and even Canada.

He emphasised that the situation was completely normal as that is how trade works.

In 1900, tariffs accounted for about 30% of the total value of U.S. imports, as the country was trying to restrict imports and develop its young industrial sector.

China has vowed to fight back to protect its economy.

Speaking to NPR, Li Jiang said his factory had previously made flags for the 2016 Trump and Clinton campaigns, and that he was again working for Donald Trump, making blue and white campaign flags. USA stocks edged higher on Thursday, however, amid hopes that American trade tensions with Europe may ease after comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The WTO found that G20 countries introduced 39 new trade restrictions between mid-October last year and mid-May this year, double the rate in the previous period, affecting trade in iron and steel, plastics and vehicles.

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That would bring the total of targeted Chinese goods to potentially $550bn - more than the $506bn in goods that China shipped to the United States past year.

Of course, there is a huge difference between a trade spat and an outright trade war.

In a fresh sign of industry´s unease, a business survey on Thursday again showed the U.S. services sector was already experiencing supply chain interruptions and rising costs in anticipation of heightened trade restrictions.

An analysis of over four dozen imported U.S products facing higher duties showed that prices were little changed on Friday afternoon versus earlier in the week.

Imports from the USA are seen at a supermarket in Shanghai, China April 3, 2018.

Several southern states, many of which also backed Trump in the election, also risk being hit.

Those are precisely the sectors that these USA tariffs are targeting. Chinese companies and investors girded for the worst, while economists cautioned any impact on the economy would be minimal. If so, that could hurt many ordinary workers. "If this ends at $34 billion, it will have a marginal effect on both economies, but if it escalates to $500 billion like Trump said then it's going to have a big impact for both countries".

Trump's tariffs are the result of an investigation by the administration into the theft of U.S. intellectual property by Chinese firms and their government.

The lists of goods to be hit by tariffs have been updated several times by both administrations.

Some veteran China observers predict Beijing's tactics may go beyond tariffs to include arbitrary quarantines and a costly uptick in customs inspections, among other regulatory headaches.

After months of speculation as to whether or not it would occur, the trade war between the United States and China is now underway in earnest.

"We're starting to see signs of inflation, not sharp inflation, but definitely inflation", Anthony Nieves, head of a services industry survey committee for the Institute for Supply Management, told reporters on Thursday.

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