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China: Tit-for-tat tariffs will ‘destroy’ US-China trade

China: Tit-for-tat tariffs will ‘destroy’ US-China trade

The White House late Tuesday announced that it was asking the United States Trade Representative to draw up a list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, including tilapia, shrimp and re-processed seafood, to hit with an additional 10% tariff.

President Donald Trump has threatened to tax as much as $US550 billion in Chinese products - an amount that exceeds America's total imports from China a year ago.

"The outburst of large-scale mutual levying of tariffs between China and the United States will inevitably destroy Sino-US trade", assistant minister of commerce Li Chenggang told a forum in Beijing on Wednesday. It said, "the Chinese government will be forced to impose necessary countermeasures" to protect its "core interests".

The trade official says the list created by the European Union was "drafted on the basis of several parameters, including its capacity to induce policy change in the United States".

China Daily said in an editorial that Beijing had to stand up to Washington.

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But China also faces difficulties in retaliating directly: it ships far more goods to the United States ($506 billion a year ago, according to U.S. figures) than come back in the opposite direction ($130 billion).

The USTR will accept public comments and hold hearings August 20-23 before reaching a decision after August 31, according to a senior USA official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

"As an industry that touches 96 percent of all manufactured goods and which has much to gain from a productive, respectful trading relationship with China, ACC and our members remain hopeful that the USA and China can resolve their differences and prevent further harm to US manufacturers, farmers, and consumers".

The new list includes vacuum cleaners, furniture, auto and bicycle parts, French doors and plywood. American workers, consumers, and the US economy lose.

That "will hit the Chinese export sector hard", said Rajiv Biswas of IHS Markit in a report.

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Days after burning China with $34 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, President Donald Trump turned up the heat. China immediately responded with $34 billion worth of tariffs on American-made goods in retaliation. Beijing has vowed to retaliate dollar-for-dollar. Beijing could target American companies like Apple. Regulators can deny or cancel licences or launch lengthy tax, environmental or anti-monopoly investigations.

There has even been speculation that China could sell some of the $1 trillion worth of USA government debt (or bonds) that it holds. All other major governments have approved the deal. With little sign of continued formal negotiations, the two powers appear headed toward a protracted trade conflict that may undermine growth and shake up corporate supply chains. According to UBS, the new tariffs were structured to allow for fast implementation, and the bank said it's now likely the United States will follow through on its threat.

Members of Congress are increasingly questioning Trump's tactics.

The latest round of proposed tariffs come a few days after the US government unveiled procedures for companies to apply for exclusions from the first round of tariffs, which went into effect July 6.

Orrin Hatch, the Republican Senate Finance Chairman, condemned the move as "reckless" and not "targeted", while U.S. stock index futures fell in early Asian trading.

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