China blames US for ‘largest-scale trade war’

09 Juillet, 2018, 19:37 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London Britain

The United States and China hiked tariffs Friday on billions of dollars of each other's goods, launching what Beijing called the "biggest trade war in economic history" in a spiraling dispute over technology.

As of 12:01 eastern this morning, computers at USA customs should have been reconfigured to apply new tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods, which include printers, cars and industrial parts.

"In order to defend the core interests of the country and the interests of the people, we are forced to retaliate", the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement shortly after the tariffs took effect.

China's average tariff rate is almost three times higher than the average United States rate.

The start of the trade war likely confirms the widening rupture between Trump and his own Republican Party, a traditional champion of free trade and big business.

China was expected to respond dollar-for-dollar but did not immediately release details of the countermeasures, which were expected mainly to target agricultural products in a bid to hurt supporters of US President Donald Trump. "Our view is that trade war is never a solution", Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told reporters during a trip to Bulgaria.

"The trade headlines are at this point keeping the market uncertain", said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

"There are no winners in a trade war", the chamber's chairman, William Zarit, said in a statement.

Six months of wrangling over trade tariffs with the United States has wiped out about a fifth of China's stock market value and driven its currency down sharply.

The president's tariffs, the PIIE's researchers conclude, are "a prime example of 20th century tools aimed at the knowledge-embodying trade flows of the 21st century". Asian equities wobbled but also managed to end up.

Signs were pointing to a softer USA stance toward China, even after both countries fired the first salvos in their trade war last week, analysts said.

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Importers of American retail goods hit by higher Chinese duties were reluctant to pass the costs on to consumers for now. The products, all sold on Chinese e-commerce platforms, ranged from pet food to mixed nuts and whiskey.

Nancy Johnson, executive director of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, said prices have dropped in the past month, but "we typically are not selling a large number of soybeans at this time of the year".

Some Chinese ports had delayed clearing goods from the United States, four sources said on Friday. Of the total, those on 818 products, such as cars, aircraft and industrial robots covering $34 billion, went into effect on Friday.

Accusing China of conducting "unfair" trade practices, Trump has pledged to protect USA intellectual property, stop noneconomic transfers of industrially significant technology and intellectual property to China, and increase access to the Chinese market for American products.

President Trump said he was confronting China's unfair trade policies and earlier said: "From now on, we expect trading relationships to be fair and to be reciprocal".

"You have another 16 [billion dollars] in two weeks, and then, as you know, we have $200bn in abeyance and then after the $200bn, we have $300bn in abeyance. OK?"

"We have to be aware that we are only one tweet away from much broader tariffs becoming a reality", she said, adding that investors were trimming broad exposure to riskier assets.

The escalation from the threat of a trade war to reality is something farmers were dreading.

The official China Daily newspaper accused the Trump administration of "behaving like a gang of hoodlums".

The United States is also set to impose 25% tariffs on another $16 billion in Chinese exports later in the summer, and China has vowed to retaliate against U.S. goods worth a similar amount.

First, it's retaliating with tit-for-tat tariffs on USA -made products, including soybeans, cars, pork, dairy and other goods disproportionately made in Trump Country.

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