State media says China's response to latest U.S. tariffs restrained, rational

Jermaine Castillo
August 6, 2018

China today announced a $60 billion list of us goods including coffee, honey and industrial chemicals for retaliation if Washington goes ahead with its latest tariff threat.

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.

The two global superpowers have been engaged in a trade war since April 2017, when United States President Donald Trump had asked the US Commerce Department to investigate whether steel and aluminium imports from China and other countries was a matter of national security.

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China has unveiled plans to impose retaliatory tariffs on United States imports worth $60bn (£46bn), firing the latest volley in the mounting trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

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Other U.S. goods targeted by China in the latest list include semiconductors, some helicopters, small-to-mid-sized aircraft, condoms, iron ore, steel products, roasted coffee, sugar, foods containing chocolate, candies, and even auto windscreens. That prompted concern among American companies that retaliation might expand to disrupting their operations in China.

The Post reported that China and the USA held unofficial talks last week but a deep and mutual distrust continues to hamper efforts to de-escalate their trade dispute.

"China will not rush to compete with US numbers", it said, echoing comments made by state television. Last year, China imported about $130 billion in goods from the United States.

The United States and China have the world's biggest trading relationship but official ties are increasingly strained over complaints Beijing's technology development tactics hurt American companies.

While a strong US Dollar combined with a weaker Yuan will make many Chinese goods on the US market still highly competitive in terms of pricing in spite of tariffs, an equal and opposite effect is being felt by US producers whose warehouses of goods that would have normally been shipped off to China are now left to rot.

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Hours later at a rally outside Columbus, Ohio, Trump told an audience of diehard supporters that playing hardball on trade is "my thing".

"The U.S. gas industry will be much harder hit by this as China imports only a small volume whereas U.S. suppliers see China as a major future market".

The news came just after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Singapore.

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

The US tariffs now in place or threatened add up to nearly half of the value of goods it imported from China a year ago.

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"China promises that it will continue to unswervingly push forward reform and opening-up based on established arrangements and pace, firmly support economic globalization, firmly safeguard free trade rules and multilateral trade mechanisms to realize joint development and share prosperity with all countries that pursue progress", the commission said.

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