Saturday, 22 September, 2018

China unveils list of potential retaliatory tariffs on United States goods

Ginger Lopez | 25 March, 2018, 01:39

If Beijing feels it is necessary, another group of American-made goods would then draw 25 percent tariffs, including pork, which is a lucrative slice of United States exports to China.

"China also appears to be breaking WTO rules by imposing conditions that don't allow US firms the ability to protect their intellectual property", it added.

"Reports indicate that "apparel" and "textiles" will be on the list, but there has been nothing more specific than that to date", HPFA counsel Robert Leo noted in an email to association members yesterday afternoon.

On the other hand, China urged the United States to cease and desist from endangering trade relations between the two countries.

"We do seem to be entering a trade war", said Eswar Prasad, a senior professor of trade policy at Cornell University. The WTO allows a country to set up tariffs for that reason, but it is something of a taboo among countries to do so because if one country invokes national security, it increases the chance that others might as well.

China's ambassador to the WTO told Reuters on Thursday that China was ready for the US move, and would challenge it at the WTO. Imports from China accounted for 36.4% of total apparel and textiles imports in the 12 months from January 2017 to January 2018, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. He said Trump and Xi agreed previous year on a 100-day agenda of trade-liberalization measures but Beijing failed to act on about half of them. The Trump administration, true to form, wants to cut the program instead. Next came steel and aluminum tariffs, prompting an outcry from trading partners and criticism that those tariffs will have only a small impact on China.




"The larger part of China's strategy, though, is to position itself as the good guy in the global economy, protecting the rules of the game from Trump's lawless attacks", he said.

Countries affected by the measures, like China, can under WTO rules retaliate with tariffs on USA goods worth a sum equivalent to the trading loss they would suffer from the US tariffs. And China is already eyeing American farmers, perhaps aiming at Mr. Trump's rural base of voters in places like Iowa and Ohio.

Trump's threats have put President Xi Jinping of China on the spot. He has shown few signs of acquiescing to US pressure. He has publicly called on China to shave $100 billion off that figure.

"No one wins in these tit-for-tat trade disputes, least of all the farmers and the consumers", said National Pork Producers Council President Jim Heimerl, a pig farmer from Johnstown, Ohio. "Look at what happened to Lotte Mart", wrote Liang Wei on Weibo, referring to the South Korean chain which saw its China business collapse after trade tensions between Beijing and Seoul.

If there is a trade war, the first shots were fired by China many years ago, US officials say, and it is Beijing that has long "gamed" the rules of the World Trade Organization for its own benefit.

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