China raises tariffs on U.S. exports as trade battle escalates


From wire reports

Automotive News | 2019-5-14

BEIJING -- China said on Monday it would impose higher tariffs on most U.S. imports on a revised $60 billion target list, hitting back at a tariff hike by Washington on $200 billion of Chinese goods in a further escalation of a bitter trade war.

The retaliation comes as U.S. President Donald Trump signals his intent to slap tariffs on all Chinese imports if Beijing does not give in, suggesting a prolonged standoff between the world's two largest economies that could roil global markets for weeks or months to come.

A total of 5,140 U.S. products will be subject to additional tariffs of 5 percent, 10 percent, 20 percent and 25 percent starting June 1, the finance ministry in Beijing said in a statement.

The escalation, from rates of 5 percent and 10 percent, was announced hours after Trump warned China not to retaliate against the latest U.S. tariffs hike.

The additional tariff of 25 percent will be levied against 2,493 goods including liquefied natural gas, soy oil, peanut oil, petrochemicals, frozen vegetables and cosmetics, the ministry said, and of 20 percent on 1,078 products.

Beijing had set additional rates of 5 percent and 10 percent on 5,207 U.S. products worth $60 billion in September, in response to the U.S.'s initial 10 percent duty on the $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and warned at the time that it would counter any higher tariffs imposed by Washington.

"China's adjustment on additional tariffs is a response to U.S. unilateralism and protectionism," the ministry said. "China hopes the U.S. will get back to the right track of bilateral trade and economic consultations and meet with China halfway."

The White House and U.S. Trade Representative's office did not immediately return a request for comment.

The trade war escalated on Friday after Trump hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, including many auto parts, saying China had reneged on earlier commitments made during months of trade negotiations.

In April, China extended a three-month suspension of additional tariffs on U.S. light vehicles and auto parts in a goodwill gesture following a U.S. decision to delay tariff hikes on Chinese imports.

Beijing had vowed to respond to the latest U.S. tariffs detailed Friday. "As for the details, please continue to pay attention. Copying a U.S. expression - wait and see," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing on Monday.


Trump urged China leaders, including President Xi Jinping, to continue to work to reach a deal. "China should not retaliate-will only get worse," he said on Twitter.

"I say openly to President Xi & all of my many friends in China that China will be hurt very badly if you don't make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries," Trump wrote.

Steady drum beat
Trump last week also ordered U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to begin imposing tariffs on all remaining imports from China, a move that would affect an additional $300 billion worth of goods.

Asked about the threat, Geng said: "We have said many times that adding tariffs won't resolve any problem ... We have the confidence and the ability to protect our lawful and legitimate rights."

On Friday, China for the first time made clear what it wants to see from the U.S. in talks to end their trade war, laying bare the deep differences that still exist between the two sides.

In a wide-ranging interview with Chinese media after talks in Washington ended Friday, Vice Premier Liu He said that in order to reach an agreement the U.S. must remove all extra tariffs, set targets for Chinese purchases of goods in line with real demand and ensure that the text of the deal is ¡°balanced¡± to ensure the ¡°dignity¡± of both nations.

Liu¡¯s three conditions underscore the work still to be done if an accord is to be reached between the world¡¯s two largest economies. President Donald Trump¡¯s administration told China it has a month to seal a trade deal or face tariffs on all its exports to the U.S.

Chinese state media kept up a steady drum beat of strongly worded commentary on Monday, reiterating that China's door to talks was always open, but vowing to defend the country's interests and dignity.

In a commentary, state television said the effect on the Chinese economy from the U.S. tariffs was "totally controllable."

"It's no big deal. China is bound to turn crisis to opportunity and use this to test its abilities, to make the country even stronger."

Before high-level talks last week in Washington, China tried to delete commitments from a draft agreement that Chinese laws would be changed to enact new policies on issues from intellectual property protection to forced technology transfers. That dealt a major setback to negotiations.

Trump has since defended the U.S. tariff hike and said he was in "absolutely no rush" to finalize a deal.

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday there was a "strong possibility" Trump will meet China's Xi at a G20 summit in Japan in late June.





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