Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

China fires salvo in trade war with United States

China threatens tariffs on $60 billion in US goods Getty Images
Kelvin Reese | 04 August, 2018, 14:07

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.

China included liquefied natural gas for the first time in its list of proposed tariffs.

China, which purchased nearly 14 percent of all U.S. LNG shipped between February 2016 and May 2018, has taken delivery from just one vessel that left the United States in June and none so far in July, compared with 17 in the first five months of the year.

He told reporters afterwards that Beijing is willing to resolve differences on an equal footing, but added that they did not speak much on the trade dispute.

China included LNG for the first time in its list of proposed tariffs on Friday, the same day that its biggest US crude oil buyer, Sinopec, suspended USA crude oil imports due to the dispute, according to three sources familiar with the situation.

Speaking on the sidelines of a a Southeast Asian security conference also attended by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Singapore, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China's threat of retaliatory tariffs was "fully justified and necessary".

"Any unilateral threat or blackmail will only lead to intensification of conflicts and damage to the interests of all parties". "China is increasingly isolated with a weak economy".

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A first round of tariffs came into effect on 6 July, when the U.S. imposed 25% taxes on $34bn of Chinese imports.

China's largest refiner, Sinopec, will delay making any purchases of USA oil for September amid concern that Beijing will slap tariffs on American crude, making imports more expensive, according to a person familiar with the matter.

But Mr Trump ratcheted up the pressure this week by asking US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider increasing the proposed tariffs to 25 per cent in a bid to force Beijing back to the negotiating table amid stalled talks.

Washington claims that China's export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of American technological know-how.

The United States alleges that China steals U.S. corporate secrets and wants it to stop doing so, and is also seeking to get Beijing to abandon plans to boost its high-tech industries at America's expense.

Tsinghua University economist Yuan Gangming said the measures China had taken were reasonable.

Beijing was also not striking back with the "same strength", said Professor Yuan.

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