Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

What Is the Endgame for the Trump Trade Wars?


The U.S. Trade Representative announced the possible second round of tariff hikes on Tuesday targeting a $200 billion list of Chinese goods ranging from burglar alarms to mackerel.

The US Chamber of Commerce, which has supported Trump's tax cuts and efforts to reduce regulation of businesses, also criticised the administration's move.

China said tit-for-tat tariffs will "destroy" trade between the world's top two economies, after Washington fired the next shot in a ballooning trade war, readying fresh levies on $200 billion in Chinese goods. In order to safeguard the core interests of the country and the fundamental interests of the people, the Chinese government will, as always, take the necessary counter-measures.

The news threw US-China trade war worries back into the spotlight just days after Washington imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, and Beijing responded immediately with matching tariffs on the same amount of US exports to China.

"For over a year, the Trump Administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition", he said in a statement.

All told, Trump has threatened eventually to slap tariffs on up to $550 billion in Chinese imports - more than China actually exported to the United States previous year - if Beijing won't relent to US pressure and continues to retaliate. Since then, the president has said his administration could impose duties on virtually all Chinese imports into the U.S.

By expanding the list, the administration is beginning to hit products that US households buy, including such things as electric lamps and fish sticks.

Officials later issued a list of thousands of Chinese products the White House wants to hit with new tariffs, including hundreds of food products as well as tobacco, chemicals and coal.

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Members of Congress are increasingly questioning Trump's aggressive trade policies, warning that tariffs on imports raise prices for consumers and expose US farmers and manufacturers to retaliation overseas.

Soybeans, crushed to make cooking oil and the protein-rich animal feed ingredient soymeal, were the biggest U.S. agriculture export to China a year ago at a value of $12.3 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Last week, Washington imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $US34 billion of Chinese imports, and Beijing responded immediately with matching tariffs on the same amount of USA exports to China.

Asked what Beijing would do, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying gave no details but said, "We will take firm and forceful measures".

Regulators can deny or cancel licenses or tie up companies by launching tax, environmental or anti-monopoly investigations.

Stocks in China and the rest of Asia tumbled overnight, spreading to Europe after markets opened. However, because China exports more to the USA than it imports there are limits on the amount of tariffs Beijing can impose on American goods.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, of Utah, called the new levies "reckless" and not "targeted".

Trump has been considering tariffs against China since his officials concluded in March that Beijing violates U.S. intellectual-property rights, such as by forcing American firms to hand over technology.

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