Will Trump’s trade war precipitate a currency war?

06 August, 2018, 08:01 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping make joint statements at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing China

A container ship was docked at a port in Qingdao, in eastern China's Shandong Province, on July 6.

The latest shot came Friday, when China released a list of $60 billion in United States goods that Beijing intends to hit with tariffs in retaliation for Trump's plan to impose duties on $200 billion in Chinese imports.

Beijing said it has been, quote, "forced to act" after the Trump administration on Wednesday announced it was considering raising its proposed tariffs on 200-billion dollars worth of Chinese imports from 10 to 25 percent.

China has said new duties will be applied only if Washington pulls the trigger on its new tariffs. The 25 percent duty would be applied to the proposed list of $200 billion of Chinese products announced on July 10.

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

Beijing fought back with matching tariffs on the same amount of USA exports to China.

China has already retaliated against some of these measures. For them, the central objective is to block China's economic and technological development under its "Made in China 2025", plan which they regard as the most significant threat to the economic, and ultimately military, supremacy of the US. From Apple to General Motors, a long list of large US enterprises have transferred extensive operations to China and could be vulnerable to any response from Beijing. That's a negligible amount for China, which imported 17 million tons total previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The action could threaten the health of the US economy, including the machinery and farming sectors of the Mahoning Valley economy, officials say. Likewise, another of Mr Trump's tweets claimed that foreign countries are paying the tariffs he has imposed on steel, aluminium and a variety of products being shipped from China. But. the Chinese Party and the government control the media as well as a good bit of the economy.

The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council on Friday unveiled lists of 5,207 items of USA products to be subject to additional tariffs of four different rates - 25 percent, 20 percent, 10 percent, and 5 percent.


Kudlow also told reporters on Friday that the administration held a call with China within the past few days involving high-level officials.

Chinese authorities warned earlier that if the dispute escalated, they would adopt unspecified "comprehensive measures".

Friday's retaliation from China suggests that tactic hasn't worked.

China's strictly controlled news outlets have frequently rebuked the United States and the Trump administration as the trade conflict has escalated, but they have largely refrained from specifically targeting Trump.

Hours later at a rally outside Columbus, Ohio, Trump told an audience of diehard supporters that playing hardball on trade is "my thing". A promise that Europe will buy more soybeans and liquefied natural gas from America, to the extent it means anything, is a promise of managed rather than free trade.

The foreign ministry spokesman appealed to Washington to negotiate but could not confirm reports the two sides were setting up talks.

Representatives for the White House and the U.S. Commerce Department did not immediately reply to requests for comment on China's retaliatory move.

In a series of Twitter posts over the weekend, he said he was using tariffs, and the threat of tariffs, to try to force other countries to renegotiate trade deals with the United States.

However, there has also been a positive impact for China, as Anna-Marie Baisden, head of autos research at Fitch Solutions, points out.

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