Chinese retaliatory measures against USA already in effect

Relations have soured between US President Donald Trump’s administration and that of Chinese President Xi Jinping since they met in Beijing last year sparking fears of an all-out trade war

A delivery man transports goods on the streets of Beijing, China, Friday, July 6, 2018.

China's commerce ministry says Beijing has "no choice but to fight" as USA prepares for enforcing tariffs on more than $34 billion in Chinese imports from Friday. But China also believes its economy, with a greater focus on domestic demand and a reduced dependence on exports, can ride out the storm.

He threatened to take action against the huge trade deficit the United States has with China and against what the U.S. describes as China's unfair trade practices, including theft of USA intellectual property. It's very hard for American companies in the auto sector or in financial services to sell into the China market, because there's a lot of regulatory barriers.

The ministry called the United States actions "a violation of world trade rules" and said that it had "initiated the largest-scale trade war in economic history".

Even before the first shots were fired, the prospect of a trade war was worrying investors. Americans worry that rising Chinese technological prowess might erode US industrial leadership and prosperity.

U.S. President Donald Trump responded by threatening additional tariffs on almost $500 billion of Chinese goods, roughly the total amount of U.S. imports from China in 2017. The motorcycle company announced last month it would move production out of the U.S.to get around the EU's retaliatory tariffs.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Feng Gao said that the proposed US tariffs would hit many American and foreign companies operating in China and disrupt their supplies of components and assembly work. The Communist Party newspaper People's Daily said tariffs were imposed on a list of goods issued last month that included soybeans, pork and electric vehicles. "You tax soybean exports at 25-percent, and you have serious damage to US farmers".

The riskiest economic gamble of Trump's presidency could spread as it enters a new and unsafe phase by imposing direct costs on companies and consumers globally.

Asian markets erased earlier losses to finish mostly higher as the uncertainty ended over whether Washington would escalate tensions with Beijing. "Our position remains consistent and very clear", he added. Hong Kong's Hang Seng also rose 0.5 percent. They also offered a rare moment of humour in an increasingly acrimonious row between the world's top two economies.

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A US court on Friday imposed the maximum $1.5 million fine for theft of trade secrets by the Chinese company Sinovel in a case that typified Washington's complaints about Beijing's conduct.

Beijing has announced changes this year including easing limits on foreign ownership in insurance and some other fields.

Chinese state media have slammed the protectionist policies of US President Donald Trump and on Friday likened his administration to a "gang of hoodlums", but the trade conflict has gained little traction on China's tightly controlled social media.

Since March 1, when President Donald Trump said he would impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, igniting fears of a trade war, S&P 500 industrials have fallen 4 per cent, reflecting the sector's dependence on global commerce.

That would bring the total of targeted Chinese goods to potentially $550bn - more than the $506bn in goods that China shipped to the USA a year ago.

Chinese officials reject accusations they steal or force foreign companies to hand over technology.

Washington has strained relations with potential allies in its dispute with Beijing by raising import duties on steel, aluminum and autos from Europe, Canada, Mexico and Japan.

"It has frequently waged wars against other sovereign countries and made use of the dominant influence of the US dollar in the worldwide markets to fleece other countries".

"China wants the European Union to stand with Beijing against Washington, to take sides", said one European diplomat. When a government or economic bloc (such as the EU) imposes a tariff on a particular product, importers pay the levy as a percentage of the total value of the product to the customs agency of that country, at the point of entry.

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