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WASHINGTON, July 11, 2018 (News Wires) - The United States and China have fired the next shots in their escalating trade war, with Washington threatening to impose fresh tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods and Beijing vowing to retaliate.

The latest moves in the ballooning trade conflict between the world's top two economies came just days after tit-for-tat duties on $34 billion in goods came into effect.

Analysts have warned that spiralling trade tensions between the two powerhouses could have a damaging impact on the global economy and far-reaching consequences across the planet.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer late Tuesday accused China of retaliating to its tariffs "without any international legal basis or justification."

President Donald Trump has therefore ordered the trade department to "begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10 per cent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports," Lighthizer said in a statement.

Officials will hold hearings in late August on the list of targeted products and an administration official said it would take about two months to finalise, at which point Trump would decide whether to go ahead with the levies.

The eventual goal is to impose tariffs on 40 per cent of Chinese imports, the same proportion of US goods hit by Beijing's retaliation, an official told reporters.

If the measures are imposed, it would mean new taxes on thousands of products from fish to chemicals, metals and tyres.

Reacting to the "totally unacceptable" Washington list, the commerce ministry in Beijing said it would be forced to take "countermeasures."

"The behaviour of the US is hurting China, hurting the world, and hurting itself," the ministry said in a statement, saying it was "shocked" by the US actions.

"In order to safeguard the core interests of the country and the fundamental interests of the people, the Chinese government as always will have no choice but to take the necessary countermeasures," it added.

Beijing said it would "immediately" tack on the case to its suit against Washington's "unilateralist" behaviour at the World Trade Organisation.

At a forum in Beijing, a senior official accused the US of "damaging the world economic order" and said tit-for-tat tariffs would "destroy" trade between the rival powers.

"The outburst of large-scale mutual levying of tariffs between China and the United States will inevitably destroy Sino-US trade," said assistant minister of commerce Li Chenggang.

The dispute comes on top of Washington's confrontation with other allies and major trading partners including Canada, Mexico and the European Union, after it imposed steep tariffs on their steel and aluminium. Those nations have also retaliated.

The new trade frictions sent investors running for cover, with equity markets across Asia tumbling more than one per cent.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index led the declines, dropping 1.76 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 1.29 per cent while Tokyo's Nikkei was off 1.19 per cent.

"The market didn't expect the second round of tariffs would come so quickly and it has impacted investor sentiment," said Zhang Gang, analyst with Central China Securities.

BERLIN, July 4, 2018 (News Wires) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday warned US President Donald Trump against unleashing an all-out trade war after he threatened to impose steep tariffs on cars from the European Union.

Both sides were already locked in a "trade conflict" since Trump's decision to slap punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, said Merkel, adding that "it is worthwhile to prevent this conflict from becoming a real war".

Trump on Sunday charged that Europe is "possibly as bad as China" on trade, as he reiterated that he is mulling import taxes of 20 per cent on EU cars.

The EU has slapped tariffs on iconic US products including bourbon, jeans and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, as a symbolic tit-for-tat response to the metals duties.

Taking aim at Trump over his complaint that the EU, and in particular Germany, is running a massive trade surplus against the US, Merkel said that his calculation is skewed as it is based only on goods, not services.

"If you include services like the digital services, then you have a completely different trade balance sheet with the US showing a surplus against the EU," she noted.

"It is almost old-fashioned to only calculate goods and not include services," Merkel told parliament.

Merkel had previously voiced her backing for a "digital tax" that would target multinationals like Amazon, Facebook or Google, which have come under fire for shifting earnings around Europe in order to pay lower taxes.

But the EU is divided over the proposal, as countries including Luxembourg and Ireland are loath to see US tech giants head for the exit.

Beijing, May 20, 2018 (News Wires) - Washington and Beijing have agreed to abandon any trade war and back off from imposing tariffs on each other, Chinese state media reported on Sunday.

The announcement came after high-level talks in the US capital and followed months of tensions over what President Donald Trump has blasted as an unfair commercial relationship between the two economic giants.

Vice-Premier Liu He, who led Chinese negotiators in Washington said: "The two sides reached a consensus, will not fight a trade war, and will stop increasing tariffs on each other," state-run news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday.

Liu called the agreement a "necessity", but added: "At the same time it must be realised that unfreezing the ice cannot be done in a day, solving the structural problems of the economic and trade relations between the two countries will take time."

An earlier joint statement issued in Washington said Beijing would "significantly" increase its purchases of American goods, but offered few details.

The apparent detente comes after months of increasing tensions that have set markets on edge over fears of a damaging trade war.

Trump has repeatedly railed against his country's trade deficit with China, describing it as a danger to US national security and threatening to impose tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of Chinese goods.

US levies on $50 billion of Chinese imports could have come into effect as early as next week.

The talks in Washington were between delegations led by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Liu, who also met on Thursday with Trump. The sides had met earlier in Beijing.

"There was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China," the joint statement said.

"To meet the growing consumption needs of the Chinese people and the need for high-quality economic development, China will significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services."

Bengaluru, April 4 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained on Wednesday, as investors stayed away from risk assets after the United States slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth imports from China, raising the stakes in a growing trade showdown with Beijing.

Spot gold rose 0.2 per cent to $1,334.64 per ounce as of 07:00 GMT, after falling 0.6 per cent in the previous session.
The Trump administration on Tuesday announced 25 per cent tariffs on some 1,300 industrial technology, transport and medical products to try to force changes in Beijing's intellectual property practices.

"The markets will be looking out for what China will do in retaliation to such a move, that alone will have a huge potential in dragging the market sentiment and risk appetite," said OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.

China's commerce ministry said on Wednesday it "strongly condemns and firmly opposes" the proposed US tariffs following the Section 301 probe and will take counter measures, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

"If there is any further intensification in the trade war issue and no quick resolution, we see gold prices could potentially bridge its $1,400 resistance level," Gan said.

The dollar slipped and Asian share markets faltered on simmering fears of a China-US trade war.

"It seems that investors are not panicking as much as they were, aware that these are opening gambits that will ultimately need to be negotiated quietly and away from the headlines," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

WASHINGTON/BEIJING, April 4 (Reuters) - China condemned the United States on Wednesday as the Trump administration pushed ahead with plans to slap tariffs on about $50 billion of Chinese industrial and hi-tech products, and vowed imminent countermeasures in the escalating trade dispute.
The US government hours earlier unveiled a detailed breakdown of some 1,300 Chinese industrial, transport and medical goods that could be subject to 25 per cent duties, ranging from light-emitting diodes to chemicals and machine parts.

The move, broadly flagged last month, is aimed at forcing Beijing to address what Washington says is deeply entrenched theft of US intellectual property and forced technology transfer from US companies to Chinese competitors, charges Chinese officials deny.

China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement that it “will soon take measures of equal intensity and scale against US goods”, and Beijing’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization, Zhang Xiangchen, urged members to “join with China in firmly resisting US protectionism”.
The ministry did not reveal any specific countermeasures, but economists widely view imports of US soybeans, aircraft and machinery as prime targets for retaliation.
The trade showdown between the world’s largest economies has fueled market fears that they could spiral into a trade war, crushing global growth.

The sense of uncertainty persisted on Wednesday, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan flickering between positive and negative territory, though Chinese shares rose on hopes that final measures will be watered down after negotiations.

The tariff list from the office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer followed China’s imposition of tariffs on $3 billion worth of US fruits, nuts, pork and wine to protest new US steel and aluminum tariffs imposed last month by Trump.

BEIJING, March 25 (AP) — A top Chinese official warned on Sunday a "trade war" would harm all sides but gave no indication of Beijing's possible next move in a spiraling dispute with President Donald Trump over steel and technology.

Speaking to global business leaders at a development forum, Vice Premier Han Zheng appealed for co-operation to make economic globalisation "beneficial for all."

"A trade war serves the interests of none," said Han at the China Development Forum. "It will only lead to serious consequences and negative impact."

Han didn't mention Trump by name or refer directly to the dispute with Washington, but the country's newly appointed economy czar warned on Saturday that Beijing will defend its interests. The government issued a $3 billion list on Friday of US goods including pork and stainless steel pipes it said might be hit by higher tariffs.

The Commerce Ministry said those charges were linked to Trump's approval earlier of higher tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. But a bigger battle is brewing over Trump's approval on Thursday of a possible tariff hike on $30 billion of Chinese goods in response to what Washington says is Beijing's improper acquisition of foreign technology.

Global financial markets have sunk on fears Chinese retaliation might prompt other governments to raise import barriers, depressing global trade.

Han appealed to other governments to "co-operate with each other like passengers in the same boat" and "make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all."

However, he also emphasised that China's income per person still is low, suggesting Beijing is unlikely to offer significant concessions to Washington.

Han repeated promises that planned Chinese market-opening would create new opportunities for foreign companies. Business groups have welcomed reform pledges but complain Beijing is moving too slowly, making it unclear whether additional promises will mollify Washington, the European Union and other trading partners.

 

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