China appears rattled by new Trump tariff threat

by WorldTribune Staff, July 11, 2018

A “shocked” Beijing is increasingly worried about how far U.S. President Donald Trump will go in his threat of a trade war, analysts say.

U.S. President Donald Trump already has imposed levies on Chinese solar panels, steel, aluminum and many machine and industrial parts.

Trump on July 10 threatened to impose new tariffs on Chinese imports totaling approximately $200 billion. The new tariffs would be on top of 25 percent tariffs the Trump administration levied on $50 billion of Chinese goods, $34 billion of which took effect last week.

China’s Commerce Ministry said on July 10 that Beijing would act with “necessary counter-measures,” but stopped short of saying it would retaliate with tariffs on U.S. goods, as it has done in the past.

“The pause in brinkmanship reflects the quandary now facing Beijing,” the Los Angeles Times said in an analysis.

Beijing “cannot match the new proposed tariffs because China imported only about $130 billion of products from the U.S. last year. By comparison, the United States imported more than $500 billion of Chinese goods last year,” the LA Times said.

UBS economist Tao Wang noted that “The Chinese government understands that a full-scale trade war does more economic harm to China.”

Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, said in announcing the new round of proposed tariffs that the U.S. expects China to stop unfair practices and open its markets to competition.

“Unfortunately, China has not changed its behavior – behavior that puts the future of the U.S. economy at risk,” Lighthizer said. “Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against U.S. products. There is no justification for such action.”

Trump already has imposed levies on Chinese solar panels, steel, aluminum and many machine and industrial parts. Trump has promised to impose tariffs on all Chinese imports if Beijing continues what he calls China’s unfair trade practices.

Meanwhile, “EU and other analysts doubt that America’s allies will line up behind Beijing, given their historically close military relations with the U.S. and the fact that many of those countries also have complained about China’s unfair trade practices and policies,” the LA Times said.

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