Canada 'caught in the crossfire' of US-China trade dispute

12 Juillet, 2018, 01:57 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Shipping containers are seen at a port in Shanghai

The Trump administration raised the stakes in the growing trade dispute, threatening 10 percent tariffs on a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, sending stocks lower and prompting Beijing to warn it would be forced to respond.

President Donald Trump has therefore ordered the trade department to "begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10% on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports", Lighthizer pointed out.

"For many years, China has pursued abusive trading practices with regard to intellectual property and innovation", Mr. Lighthizer said in a statement on Tuesday.

In Beijing, Li Chenggang, assistant minister at China's Commerce Ministry, said that the latest USA proposals would hurt both countries and pointed to declines in Chinese export growth and overseas investment to the United States in the first half of this year.

The US complains that China uses predatory practices in a push to challenge American technological dominance.

'TARIFFS ARE TAXES' Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a senior member of Trump's Republican Party, said the announcement "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach".

"It is impractical for China to match tariffs by quantity", said Frances Cheung, head of Asia macro strategy at Westpac in Singapore.

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Trump has been considering tariffs against China since his officials concluded in March that Beijing violates US intellectual-property rights, such as by forcing American firms to hand over technology.

China's Commerce Ministry has said that Beijing has no choice but to fight back after the U.S. "launched the largest trade war in economic history", accusing Washington of violating the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). "At the same time, China will report the US' unilateral behaviour to the World Trade Organization", reports China News.

Members of Congress are increasingly questioning Trump's aggressive trade policies, warning that tariffs on imports raise prices for consumers and expose US farmers and manufacturers to retaliation overseas. His determination to renegotiate trade deals has targeted not only competitors on the world market such as China, but longtime friends and allies such as the European Union or Canada.

The $200 billion far exceeds the total value of goods China imports from the United States, which means Beijing may need to think of creative ways to respond to such US measures.

The U.S. trade deficit in goods with China ballooned to a record $375.2 billion a year ago, stoking his anger over trade policies. There is no victor in a trade war.

"China is showing no signs of backing down and instead looks like it is preparing for a drawn out conflict", said Scott Kennedy, deputy director of China studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

China' s Ministry of Commerce said that the tariffs are "totally unacceptable" and it is hurting the entire world, as well as China.

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