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12 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM

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USA escalates trade war with China

It threatens to impose fresh tariffs on another $200b in Chinese goods
AFP
USA escalates trade war with China

The United States has escalated a trade war with China, threatening to impose fresh tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods as soon as September, sparking a furious reaction in Beijing, reports AFP from Washington.

The latest shot in a spiralling trade conflict between the world’s top two economies came just days after tit-for-tat tariffs on $34 billion in goods came into effect.

Analysts have warned that ballooning trade tensions between the two financial powerhouses could have a damaging impact on the global economy and will have a far-reaching across the planet.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer late Tuesday accused China of retaliating to its tariffs “without any international legal basis or justification.”

President Donald Trump has therefore ordered the trade department to “begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports,” Lighthizer said in a statement.

Officials will hold hearings in late August on the list of targeted products and an administration official said it would take about two months to finalise, at which point Trump would decide whether to go ahead with the levies.

The eventual goal is to impose tariffs on 40 percent of Chinese imports, the same proportion of US goods hit by Beijing’s retaliation, an official told reporters.

If the measures are imposed, it would mean new taxes on thousands of products from fish to chemicals, metals and tires.

Reacting to the Washington announcement, a senior trade official in Beijing accused the United States of “damaging the world economic order” and said tit-for-tat tariffs would “destroy” trade between the rival powers.

“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.

US policy “actually interferes with the process of economic globalisation” and “damages the world economic order,” charged Li.

The dispute comes on top of Washington’s confrontation with other allies and major trading partners including Canada, Mexico and the European Union, after it imposed steep tariffs imposed on their steel and aluminum. Those nations have also retaliated.

“It is a chaotic time in international trade,” said China’s Li.

The new trade frictions sent investors running for cover, with equity markets across Asia tumbling more than one percent.

The trade confrontation between Washington and Beijing has been escalating for months, despite Trump’s repeated statements that he has a good relationship with China’s President Xi Jinping.

China accused the US of starting “the largest trade war in economic history,” after the first round of tariffs took effect last week.

But Trump has said continuously that China has taken advantage of the US economy, and he has vowed to hit nearly all the country’s products with tariffs, as much as $450 billion.

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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