In Trade Dis­pute, China Places Im­port Taxes on US Goods

The Jewish Voice - - INTERNATIONAL - By: Wal­ter Me­tuth

China raised im­port du­ties on a $3 bil­lion list of U.S. pork, fruit and other prod­ucts Mon­day in an es­ca­lat­ing tar­iff dis­pute with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump that com­pa­nies worry might de­press global com­merce.

The Fi­nance Min­istry said it was re­spond­ing to a U.S. tar­iff hike on steel and alu­minum that took ef­fect March 23. But a big­ger clash looms over Trump's ap­proval of pos­si­ble higher du­ties on nearly $50 bil­lion of Chi­nese goods in a separate ar­gu­ment over tech­nol­ogy pol­icy.

The tar­iff spat is one as­pect of wide-rang­ing ten­sions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Bei­jing over China's multi­bil­lion-dol­lar trade sur­plus with the United States and its poli­cies on tech­nol­ogy, in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment and ac­cess to its state-dom­i­nated econ­omy.

Fore­cast­ers say the im­me­di­ate im­pact should be limited, but in­vestors worry the global re­cov­ery might be set back if it prompts other gov­ern­ments to raise im­port bar­ri­ers. Those fears tem­po­rar­ily de­pressed fi­nan­cial mar­kets, though stocks have re­cov­ered some of their losses.

On Mon­day, stock mar­ket in­dexes in Tokyo and Shang­hai were up 0.5 per­cent at mid­morn­ing.

Bei­jing faces com­plaints by Wash­ing­ton, the Euro­pean Union and other trad­ing part­ners that it ham­pers mar­ket ac­cess de­spite its free-trad­ing pledges and is flood­ing global mar­kets with im­prop­erly low­priced steel and alu­minum. But the EU, Ja­pan and other gov­ern­ments crit­i­cized Trump's uni­lat­eral move as dis­rup­tive.

The United States buys little Chi­nese steel and alu­minum fol­low­ing ear­lier tar­iff hikes to off­set what Wash­ing­ton says is im­proper sub­si­dies. Still, econ­o­mists ex­pected Bei­jing to re­spond to avoid look­ing weak in a high-pro­file dis­pute.

Ef­fec­tive Mon­day, Bei­jing raised tar­iffs on pork, alu­minum scrap and some other prod­ucts by 25 per­cent, the Fi­nance Min­istry said. A 15 per­cent tar­iff was im­posed on ap­ples, al­monds and some other goods.

The tar­iff hike has "has se­ri­ously dam­aged our in­ter­ests,'' said a Fi­nance Min­istry state­ment.

"Our coun­try ad­vo­cates and sup­ports the mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem,'' said the state­ment. China's tar­iff in­crease “is a proper mea­sure adopted by our coun­try us­ing World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion rules to pro­tect our in­ter­ests.''

The White House didn't re­spond to a mes­sage from The As­so­ci­ated Press on Sun­day seek­ing com­ment.

China's gov­ern­ment said ear­lier its im­ports of those goods

last year to­taled $3 bil­lion.

The lat­est Chi­nese move tar­gets farm ar­eas, many of which voted for Trump in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

U.S. farm­ers sent nearly $20 bil­lion of goods to China in 2017. The Amer­i­can pork in­dus­try sent $1.1 bil­lion in prod­ucts, mak­ing China the No. 3 mar­ket for U.S. pork.

"Amer­i­can politi­cians bet­ter re­al­ize sooner rather than later that China would never sub­mit if the U.S. launched a trade war,'' said the Global Times, a news­pa­per pub­lished by the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party.

Wash­ing­ton granted EU, South Korea and some other ex­porters, but not ally Ja­pan, ex­emp­tions to the steel and alu­minum tar­iffs on March 22. Euro­pean gov­ern­ments had threat­ened to re­tal­i­ate by rais­ing du­ties on Amer­i­can bour­bon, peanut but­ter and other goods.

Bei­jing has yet to say how it might re­spond to Trump's March 22 or­der ap­prov­ing pos­si­ble tar­iff hikes in re­sponse to com­plaints China steals or pres­sures for­eign com­pa­nies to hand over tech­nol­ogy.

A man pushes a shop­ping cart past a dis­play of nuts im­ported from the United States and other coun­tries at a su­per­mar­ket in Bei­jing, Mon­day, April 2, 2018

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