Thursday, 15 November, 2018

China to fight USA tariffs at any cost

Beijing responds forcefully to Trump's escalating threats raising risks of all-out trade war Liam Dann: US can't win a trade war - but it can hurt NZ
Kelvin Reese | 10 April, 2018, 19:45

Fed up, the United States has slapped tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, followed by planned levies on $50 billion worth of goods from China over Washington IP theft allegations.

Of note, Xi told the forum that globalisation is an irreversible trend, adding that China will do its part by taking major measures to open up its economy as soon as possible and widen market access to foreign-funded firms.

Beijing did not want to fight a trade war, but was not afraid of one, vice-commerce minister Qian Keming told the Boao Forum for Asia in the southern province of Hainan.

The reality is that the USA economy was largely open by the 1980s and that every major trade agreement has reduced other nations' trade barriers by far more than it altered American trade barriers.

BOAO/BEIJING, China, April 10 (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday promised to open the country's economy further and lower import tariffs on products including cars, in a speech seen as conciliatory amid rising trade tensions between China and the United States.

China also urged the European Union to join it in taking a "clear stance" against U.S. protectionism, calling for Brussels and Beijing to "jointly preserve the rules-based multilateral trade order", said Zhang Ming, the head of the Chinese mission to the EU.

China stepped up its attacks on the Trump administration on Monday over billions of dollars worth of threatened tariffs, saying Washington is to blame for trade frictions and repeating it was impossible to negotiate under "current circumstances".

The U.S. imported 58,000 passenger cars from China worth $1.5 billion a year ago, according to the International Trade Administration, a federal agency within the Department of Commerce. The stock market fluctuated in response to this news.

Still, Trump insisted Wednesday that '[w] e are not in a trade war with China.

The president's latest tweet comes as his administration ramped up its trade spat with China in recent weeks.

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After the USA unveiled a list of $50 billion in potential tariffs on Chinese products, Beijing responded with plans to implement billions in penalties on US soybeans, cars and other items.

"Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers", Trump said, calling Beijing's reaction "unfair".

He also said U.S. Trade Representative Andy Lighthizer had determined China 'has repeatedly engaged in practices to unfairly obtain America's intellectual property'. -China Business Council, which represents companies that deal with China, welcomed Xi's announcement but expressed hope for additional steps such as ending requirements for joint ventures and technology licensing.

President Trump acknowledged Monday that American farmers may be hurt by Chinese tariffs.

USA crude rose 2.82 percent to $65.21 per barrel and Brent was last at $70.68, up 2.96 percent on the day.

Private sector analysts saw Xi's speech as an overture to help end the biggest trade dispute since World War II. The U.S. has asked the country to reduce its trade surplus by $100 billion, cut tariffs on cars and stop forced technology transfers by foreign corporations, among other things. The U.S. sold about $130 billion in goods to China in 2017 and faces a potentially devastating hit if China responds in kind. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell $1.48 to $62.06 a barrel, a 2.3 percent loss.

As a proxy for trade war concerns, there are few better financial indicators out there than movements in the Australian dollar-Japanese yen cross.

"The punches keep getting thrown, but the market has managed to hang in there", said Chris Verrone, a strategist at Strategas Research Partners.

China charges total duties of 25 percent on most imported cars - a 10 percent customs tariff plus a 15 percent auto tax.

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