China appeals for United States calm after new tariff threat

White House escalates China trade dispute to secure early breakthrough: John Kemp

While the tariffs would not be imposed until after a period of public comment, raising the proposed level to 25 per cent could escalate the trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

The source said President Donald Trump's administration could announce the tougher proposal as early as Wednesday in Washington.

In fact, the rate of growth in the first half well exceeded the 3.6 percent increase in imports of copper in the first half of 2017, showing that not only is China importing more of the industrial metal, it's doing so at a faster pace.

China, which has accused the United States of bullying, again vowed to retaliate if Trump proceeds with the measures, warning that pressure tactics would fail. Democrats and Republicans have complained that China's ability to sell goods in the United States at a lower cost than USA companies has put thousands of American firms out of business, costing manufacturing jobs and hurting the US economy.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Thursday that China will advise the U.S. to change its attitude, stop making false accusations, and return to the land of reason.

Trump and senior administration officials believe the volume of U.S. imports and vigorous health of the American economy give Washington an advantage in the current confrontation. Still, the administration's threats represent a significant escalation of trade tensions with China.

"The Chinese side always believes that trade disputes must be resolved through talks and negotiations and our sincerity and efforts are there for the worldwide community to see", he added.

In early July, the USA government imposed 25 per cent tariffs on an initial US$34 billion of Chinese imports.

China says the United States is trying to stop the rise of a competitor and it has imposed its own tariffs on US goods.

Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on virtually all of China's exports to the United States.

A second round of tariffs on products worth $16 billion could take effect as soon as this week.

White House officials had hoped Trump's latest threat would frighten Chinese officials into negotiations, where Trump aims to secure more favorable terms for USA manufacturers in one of the world's largest marketplaces.

Derek Scissors, a China scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said a 25% tariff rate is more likely to shut out Chinese products and shift American supply chains to other countries, as a 10% duty could be offset by government subsidies and weakness in China's yuan currency.

General Electric (GE.N) estimated the new tariffs on its imports from China could raise its costs by $300 million to $400 million overall, before steps to lessen the impact while General Motors Co (GM.N), Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCHA.MI) (FCAU.N) have lowered their full-year profit forecasts.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement on Wednesday that Trump directed the increase from the previously proposed duty because China has refused to meet U.S. demands and imposed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

The US Trade Representative's office initially had set a deadline for final public comments on the 10 per cent proposed tariffs to be filed by August 30, with public hearings scheduled for Aug.20-23.

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