European exporters shift trade to avoid higher USA tariffs

11 July, 2018, 08:08 | Author: Angel Logan
  • China urges domestic firms to boost non-American imports as trade war with US escalates

U.S. President Donald Trump had warned then that his country may ultimately impose tariffs on more than US$500 billion worth of Chinese imports, essentially all Chinese goods.

If he goes ahead it would mean thousands of products from fish to chemicals, metals and tires would face new taxes.

Administration officials said the tariff fight is aimed at forcing China to stop stealing American intellectual property and to abandon policies that effectively force US companies to surrender their trade secrets in return for access to the Chinese market. Beijing immediately retaliated with similar duties on US exports.

Consumer-goods companies have been bracing for months as the Trump administration steadily ramped up its rhetoric on trade with China and other major trade partners.

Beijing has called on Chinese firms to substitute American imports with those from other countries in response to USA trade tariffs. Those nations also have retaliated.

"The president has broken his promise to bring 'maximum pain on China, minimum pain on consumers, ' and American families are the ones being punished", Hun Quach, vice president of global trade for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said in a statement following news of the new round of duties.

The office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has released a list of Chinese products, running to nearly 200 pages, that will potentially be hit with a 10 per cent import tax as early as September.

In addition, the U.S.is considering separate duties on a further US$16 billion in Chinese goods, after a public hearing later this month.

China accused the United States of starting "the largest trade war in economic history", after the first round of tariffs took effect last week.

Beijing has vowed to respond in kind to any US trade action. It's an extensive list of over 6,000 goods that include seafood, propane and toilet paper, among many other things. They also said they remain open to working with China to try to resolve the dispute, but the response from Beijing so far has been unsatisfactory.

Louis Kuijs, Hong Kong-based Head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics, said while he expects China to strongly condemn the USA moves, its policy response is likely to be limited for now.

Trump administration officials, for their part, argue that the Obama administration's preferred methods for dealing with unfair trade practices - negotiations and litigation at the World Trade Organization - were ineffective, and it is time to take a harder line. But he added that "the United States is willing to engage in efforts that could lead to a resolution of our concerns".

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