Trade fears heat­ing up

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

FEARS of a global trade war were ig­nited this week when China is­sued a US$50 bil­lion list of Amer­i­can goods slated for tar­iff hikes.

The list in­cludes agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, no­tably soy­beans, and is the lat­est step in an es­ca­lat­ing and po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy dis­pute with Wash­ing­ton.

China’s tax agency gave no date for the 25 per­cent in­crease to take ef­fect and said that would de­pend on what Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump does about US plans to raise du­ties on a sim­i­lar amount of Chi­nese goods.

Bei­jing’s list of 106 prod­ucts in­cluded the big­gest US ex­ports to China, re­flect­ing its in­tense sen­si­tiv­ity to the dis­pute over Amer­i­can com­plaints that it pres­sures for­eign com­pa­nies to hand over tech­nol­ogy.

The clash re­flects the ten­sion be­tween Trump’s prom­ises to nar­row a US trade deficit with China that stood at US $375.2 bil­lion last year and the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party’s de­vel­op­ment am­bi­tions.

Reg­u­la­tors use ac­cess to China’s vast mar­ket as lever­age to press for­eign au­tomak­ers and other com­pa­nies to help cre­ate or im­prove in­dus­tries and tech­nol­ogy.

A list the US is­sued ear­lier of prod­ucts sub­ject to tar­iff hikes in­cluded aero­space, tele­coms and ma­chin­ery, strik­ing at de­vel­op­ing high-tech in­dus­tries in China.

China said it would im­me­di­ately chal­lenge the US move in the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Deputy fi­nance min­is­ter, Zhu Guangyao, ap­pealed to Wash­ing­ton to “work in a con­struc­tive man­ner” and hurt­ing both coun­tries.

Zhu warned against ex­pect­ing Bei­jing to back down.

“Pres­sure from the out­side will only urge and en­cour­age the Chi­nese peo­ple to work even harder,” Zhu said.

Com­pa­nies and econ­o­mists have ex­pressed con­cern im­proved global eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity might sput­ter if other gov­ern­ments are prompted to raise their own im­port bar­ri­ers.

“US com­pa­nies at this point would like to see ro­bust com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the US gov­ern­ment and the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and se­ri­ous ne­go­ti­a­tion on both sides, hope­fully to avoid a trade war,” said the chair­man of the Amer­i­can Cham­ber of Com­merce in China, Wil­liam Zarit.

The list of US prod­ucts un­der threat of tar­iff hikes in­cludes soy­beans, beef and whisky. China is the largest mar­ket for US soy and the threat of tar­iffs on ex­ports of the com­mod­ity has the po­ten­tial to whip up trade anx­i­eties. avoid

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