Published: Sat, August 04, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

China threatens tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods

China threatens tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods

China proposed retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of USA goods ranging from liquefied natural gas (LNG) to some aircraft on Friday, as a senior Chinese diplomat cast doubt on prospects of talks with Washington to solve their bitter trade conflict.

"China's differential tax rate countermeasures are rational and restrained", the Ministry of Commerce said in a separate statement on its website.

The measure was presented as a response to the United States on July 11 imposing a 10 percent tariff on imports of approximately $200 billion from China. China responded with a 178.6 percent tariff on the roughly $1 billion in sorghum that the US imports to China each year.

Representatives for the White House and the US Commerce Department did not immediately reply to a request for comment on China's retaliatory move.

The president's widening trade wars have concerned some American farmers who are anxious about the effect the feuds will have on their bottom line. But they have rejected changing technology development plans they see as a path to prosperity and global influence.

The United States and China trade goods and services worth about $650 billion each year, the largest trading relationship in the world between two countries.

The U.S. has only started exporting LNG en masse in the last few years, owing to the explosion of natural gas production thanks to fracking and other drilling methods. China immediately retaliated by imposing levies on the same amount of U.S. goods.

The highest penalties in Friday's list would hit honey, vegetables, mushrooms and other farm goods, targeting areas that supported Trump in the 2016 election.

Answering a reporter's question about what was specifically said on trade, Wang said: "We did not speak in such details".

Beijing's earlier round of tariffs appeared created to minimize the impact on the Chinese economy by targeting soybeans, whiskey and other goods available from Brazil, Australia and other suppliers.

Today's new tariffs are set at levels of 25, 20, 10 and five percent.

Chinese authorities - bracing for economic fallout - have taken a range of measures in recent weeks to bolster the economy.

"Instead of retaliating, China should address the long-standing concerns about its unfair trading practices", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in an emailed statement.

"Cooperation is the only right choice for China and the United States", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Singapore, according to China's official Xinhua news agency. Washington also wants China to stop subsidizing Chinese companies with cheap loans, claiming that this allows them to compete unfairly.

'Will depend on U.S'.

"We urge the United States to come to its senses, correct its erroneous acts and create the necessary condition for a proper settlement as soon as possible", spokesman Geng Shuang said. The move was meant to bring China back to the negotiating table for talks over US demands for structural changes to the Chinese economy and a cut in the bilateral trade deficit.

"The U.S. side has repeatedly escalated the situation against the interests of both enterprises and consumers", it said.

The Republican president has been keen to show he is tough on trade ahead of tricky congressional elections in November, joking at a rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday: "China is not happy with me".

Like this: