Trade War Casts Shadow on Sino-us Relations
US President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that would impose heavy duties on Chinese imports on March 22, triggering wide speculation that China and the US will slide into an inevitable trade war.
The newly signed memorandum, if finally passed by the US Congress, will impose duties on Chinese imports to the value of US$60 billion and will work out a program on restricting Chinese investment in American enterprises. Global stock markets slumped on the back on the news.
China issued a tough response. “We do not want to have a trade war with the United States or with anybody else, but we are not afraid of it. If somebody tries to impose a trade war on us, we will fight...” said Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai in an interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN).
According to Trump, one of the major reasons that he signed the memorandum is that China has violated US intellectual property rights, an accusation Cui said was “groundless” and “discriminating.” “If a trade war was initiated by the US, China would fight to the end to defend its own legitimate interests with all necessary measures,” said a statement released on the website of China's Embassy in the US on March 23.
In early March, Liu He made an official visit to the US as director of General Office of China's Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs. Liu talked with Trump's economic team about trade balance and market access. However, as analysts just began to believe that bilateral dialogue would greatly reduce the possibility of a trade war, Trump signed an order imposing 25 percent and 10 percent duties on imported steel and aluminum. The order sparked big disputes in the White House and was heavily opposed by many trade groups and other countries.
On the morning of March 23, China's Ministry of Commerce published on its website a list of American imports, the value of which was reported to be US$3 billion, on which they plan to halt tariff concessions. The ministry claimed that if China and the US fail to reach a trade compensatory agreement, the list will take effect.