Tariffs show Trump doesn't want China's help with North Korea

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 28, 2018

Conceivably, it could work out that way: Premier Li Keqiang said this week China will open its economy further, do more to protect intellectual property, and restrain its efforts to get foreign investors to transfer technology. Is the U.S. in the right position to criticise China on trade imbalance?

Farmers, electronics retailers and other USA businesses are bracing for a backlash as President Donald Trump targets China for stealing American technology or pressuring US companies to hand it over.

In a retaliatory move, China unveiled plans yesterday to impose higher tariffs on Dollars 3 billion worth of American goods including pork and pipes in retaliation to United States tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Beijing.

China's Commerce Ministry said Beijing was considering a tariff increase of 25 per cent on pork and aluminum scrap, mirroring Trump's 25 per cent charge on steel.

The action did not immediately impose any new tariffs, but within two weeks US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is due to publish a list of the products that could be hit with tariffs.

The U.S. stock market dropped sharply in anticipation of possible fallout from the trade moves. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 424.69 points, or 1.8 percent, to 23,533.20.

Lighthizer says Canada and Mexico are on that list.

Farmers, electronics retailers and other US businesses are bracing for a backlash as President Donald Trump targets China for stealing American technology or pressuring USA companies to hand it over.

But the wide scope of the exemptions - which now encompass more than half of the steel imported by the United States - raised questions about whether the tariffs would actually make a difference in supporting USA metal industries.

China threatened retaliation, and Wall Street cringed, recording one of the biggest drops of Trump's presidency.

This came hours after Trump signed a presidential memorandumthat could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of imports from China.

With a 15-day leisure period until the president must present a list of products affected by his affixed regulations, the Chinese government denies the allegations against it. "The Chinese see them as a major threat and do not want a costly trade war". On the other hand, you have to ask yourself, can we go on with a $800 - and growing - billion trade deficit. Several U.S. chief executives attending a high-profile forum in Beijing, including BlackRock Inc's Larry Fink and Apple Inc's Tim Cook, urged restraint amid the intensifying trade spat.

China's transition to a producer of hi-tech goods is a big part of USA frustrations, particularly the rapid growth of state-owned or backed enterprises like the telco giant Huawei.

American Keg CEO Paul Czachor on the impact of the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum. Those tariffs, which take effect on Friday, have already been watered down. The Trump administration offers neither.

A big trade war with the United States could slow China's rapid growth critical to his long-term vision.

In the theatre of war that is the Trump administration's battle with China over its massive two-way trade deficit, the current emphasis is much more on theatre than out-and-out war.

China's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, indicated those goods could be on the hit list when she said during a press conference in Beijing that "China's market receives the largest number of United States planes and soybeans and the second largest number of U.S. cars and cotton".

If China follows through, that might be enough for Trump to declare victory and move on to his next adventure. He exempted some countries pending negotiations and gave the immediate green light for others, like China.

"America first does not mean America alone", said Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis.

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