The Korea Times

US blasts ‘unfair’ Chinese tariffs


— The United States on Monday blasted as “unfair” Chinese tariffs imposed on 128 U.S. imports worth $3 billion, including fruit and pork, in the latest tit-for-tat over U.S. duties on steel and aluminium.

China’s action, which was decided by the customs tariff commission of the State Council, followed weeks of rhetoric that has raised fears of a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

President Donald Trump’s administra­tion had said its duties were aimed at steel and aluminium imports that it deemed a threat to U.S. national security, but China’s Commerce Ministry called that reasoning an “abuse” of World Trade Organizati­on (WTO) guidelines.

The U.S. measures “are directed only at a few countries, seriously violating the principle of non-discrimina­tion as a cornerston­e of the multilater­al trading system, which seriously infringed the interests of the Chinese side,” said a statement on the Commerce Ministry website.

Trump has repeatedly railed against China’s massive trade surplus with the United States and promised during the election campaign to take steps to slash the U.S. deficit.

His White House again pointed the finger at Beijing.

“China’s subsidizat­ion and continued overcapaci­ty is the root cause” of what deputy White House spokeswoma­n Lindsay Walters called a crisis affecting steel.

“Instead of targeting fairly traded U.S. exports, China needs to stop its unfair trading practices, which are harming US national security and distorting global markets,” she said.

Beijing had warned last month that it was considerin­g the tariffs of 15 percent and 25 percent on a range of products that also include wine, nuts and aluminium scrap. They came into force on Monday, Xinhua said, citing a government statement.

The levies are in response to tariffs of 10 percent on aluminium and 25 percent on steel that have also angered U.S. allies.

“We hope that the United States can withdraw measures that violate WTO rules as soon as possible to put trade in the relevant products between China and the U.S. back on a normal track,” the Commerce Ministry statement said.

“Cooperatio­n between China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies, is the only correct choice.”

Trump has temporaril­y suspended the tariffs for the European Union as well as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea.

But the White House has unveiled plans to impose new tariffs on about $60 billion of Chinese imports over the “theft” of intellectu­al property.

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