China vows retaliation for US$200B USA tariff threat

Soybean prices have fallen dramatically in recent weeks.
Daniel Acker  Bloomberg

"The administration's announcement of a potential 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of additional imports from China, including a significant amount of chemicals, is a stunning and unfortunate development for US manufacturers and consumers", ACC said in a July 11 statement.

The Trump administration said the proposed list, which would put 10 percent tariffs on thousands of different categories of Chinese imports, is needed to increase the pressure on Beijing to change what the us calls unfair trade practices.

The administration said the new levies were a response to China's decision to retaliate against the first round of U.S. tariffs. It's unclear what that action could include.

China on Wednesday (July 11) vowed to take "countermeasures" after the United States said it would slap 10 per cent tariffs on an extra US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports.

The proposal comes only a few days after the Trump administration fired the first real opening salvo in the trade war, implementing 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports on Friday.

If China responds with tariffs on energy, this could cut sales of USA energy goods, analysts and executives told Reuters last month, when Beijing first threatened to slap tariffs on us energy.

Beijing gave no details of the possible retaliation but earlier it threatened "comprehensive measures".

China has, in recent years, become a key export market for growing US energy exports.

The tariffs will not be imposed until after a two-month period of public comment on the proposed list.

"The Chinese side is shocked by the actions of the U.S.", a statement on the ministry's website declared.

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"The latest list of $200 billion of products to be subject to tariffs against China doubles down on a reckless strategy that will boomerang back to harm USA families and workers".

On Wednesday, China's main stock index lost 1.8 per cent and Japan's market benchmark fell 1.1 percent.

The US Chamber of Commerce, which has supported Trump's tax cuts and efforts to reduce regulation of businesses, also criticised the administration's move.

Some US business groups and senior lawmakers sharply criticised the latest action on Tuesday, with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Republican, saying it "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach".

"But more tariffs like these will punish America's manufacturing workers - and could undermine our hard-won gains thanks to tax and regulatory reform".

President Donald Trump has threatened higher tariffs on more than US$500 billion of goods, or almost all of China's annual exports to the United States. Imposing taxes on another $200 billion worth of products will raise the costs of every-day goods for American families, farmers, ranchers, workers, and job creators.

The officials said they tried to target goods that would reduce the harm to USA consumers.

But U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the 10 percent duties, which also cover many consumer products that may also contain unlisted plastics components, are needed to put more pressure on China.

China's exports have mushroomed since it joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001, making it the world's second-largest economy and prompting widening criticism in recent years from trading partners that it has unfairly used global trade rules to its advantage.

In Beijing, Li Chenggang, assistant minister at China's Commerce Ministry, said at a forum in Beijing that the latest U.S. proposals interfered with the globalisation of the world economy and that China's support for a multilateral trade system would not change.

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