Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Tariff battle: Playing hardball on trade is my thing, says Donald Trump

President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping make joint statements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing China President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping make joint statements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing China
Scott Davis | 06 August, 2018, 06:30

A top White House economic adviser responded Friday to a new tariff threat from China, warning Beijing not to underestimate President Donald Trump's willingness to hit back.

China's state media said on Saturday the government's retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion of USA goods showed rational restraint and they accused the United States of blackmail.

Trump's tweets appear to be the latest volley in a budding trade war between the United States and China.

The People's Bank of China will impose a reserve requirement of 20 percent on some trading of foreign-exchange forward contracts, according to a statement on Friday evening.

Beijing said the timing of the new tariffs would depend on whether the U.S. follows through on its threat.

Economists have warned that the tit-for-tat import duties, which have unsettled the US stock market, could undercut manufacturing through disruptions to the supply chain and put a brake on the strong economic growth. According to Reuters, the Chinese commerce minister said in a statement after the latest round of tariff threats that the United States had "repeatedly escalated the situation against the interests of both enterprises and consumers".

China plans to slap additional tariffs on 5,207 categories of U.S. products with four levels of tariff rates - 25 percent, 20 percent, 10 percent and 5 percent. Rather, the USA importers bringing the products into the United States pay the tariffs.

"We've said many times: no tariffs, no tariff barriers, no subsidies". Over time, US companies are likely to buy fewer products from China and elsewhere as they look for alternative suppliers.

Trump continued his focus on tariffs this morning, tweeting that the duties are working "big time" and that imported goods should be taxed or made in the US.




"Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $19.6 billion (R260 billion), or 7.2%, from the same period in 2017", the Census Bureau said in a press release.

"We said before that this round of tariffs amounted to doubling down on the recklessness of imposing a trade policy that will hurt United States families and workers more than they will hurt China", a major trade group, the National Retail Federation, said in a statement last week.

In terms of actual tariffs, or any other "trade" measure, the Trump-Juncker announcement was mostly a public relations stunt for both parties created to placate their domestic critics.

The Chinese government has said that it will make a final decision on if, when, and how these tariffs will be implemented next month.

The Twitter posts came one day after China vowed to impose steep tariffs on $60 billion in US exports in retaliation to large tariffs the Trump is considering on $200 billion in Chinese exports.

Protectionist moves by the United States have drawn a response from other trading major partners.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) before their bilateral meeting at the 51st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore, yesterday.

Today's threat targeting a smaller amount of US goods reflects the fact that Beijing is running out of products for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the United States.

And while America's trade deficit with Europe shrank in June, it grew with both Canada and China. Taken in totality, the new Chinese proposals will cover $60 billion in U.S. imports.

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