Trump confirms that tariffs against China will take effect

Arturo Kim
July 6, 2018

Soybean farmers, along with most of the US agriculture community, have been appealing to Trump to defuse the trade conflict with China, which imported 31 percent of USA soybeans past year, making it the world's top purchaser. China is expected to respond with tariffs on $16 billion worth of US goods like machinery and plastics.

China has threatened to respond with tariffs on hundreds of USA goods, including top exports such as soybeans, sorghum and cotton, threatening US farmers in states that backed Trump in the 2016 USA election, such as Texas and Iowa.

Earlier on Thursday China accused the United States of "opening fire" on the world with its raft of tariffs aimed at China, but also at trade partners in North America and Europe.

After that, the hostilities could intensify: Trump said the ready to target an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports - and then $300 billion more - if Beijing refuses to yield to US demands and continues to retaliate. Beijing said it would not hesitate to match those tariffs either.

Asked whether United States companies would be targeted with "qualitative measures" in China in a trade war, Gao said the government would protect the legal rights of all foreign companies in the country. US stocks edged higher on Thursday, however, amid hopes that American trade tensions with Europe may ease after comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

One study said as many as 400,000 jobs could be lost.

The United States is hurting itself as well as the world by imposing additional tariffs, China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday.

Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater warned that the back and forth between China and the United States would damage American manufacturing and lead to job losses.

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China is expected to retaliate as soon as the USA tariffs go into effect, imposing duties on goods worth roughly the same amount but with a greater emphasis on politically sensitive agricultural products.

"If the determined to escalate conflicts with China then so be it", the newspaper said in an editorial.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a notice it would begin collecting the 25 percent duties on 818 product lines identified in June by the U.S. Trade Representative's Office.

Trump has taken an aggressive stance on trade, fulfilling a campaign promise.

"China will not bow down in the face of threats and blackmail, and will not falter from its determination to defend free trade and the multilateral system", he added. The U.S. has already levied tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, angering those allies and prompting them to retaliate. "To put it simply, the opening fire on the entire world, including itself", Gao said.

China and the United States have held talks about how to de-escalate the trade war, but no agreements were reached.

There was no evidence of last-minute negotiations between USA and Chinese officials, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

Economists have for months warned of the potential damage to the U.S. and global economies from aggressive trade policies and protectionism, which would raise prices and upend global supply chains. These tactics include cyber-theft as well as requiring American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to China's market. "The decision to impose tariffs on Chinese goods will harm American consumers and businesses without addressing discriminatory and systemic Chinese trade practices and policies".

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