Trade Wars: Trump loads first volley against China

The European Union Mexico and Canada have all the hit U.S. with billions in retaliatory tariffs

The European Union Mexico and Canada have all the hit U.S. with billions in retaliatory tariffs

Previously, Trump had threatened up to impose additional tariffs on goods worth $400 billion should China follow through on its plans to retaliate against the initial USA tariffs on Chinese goods including autos, computer disk drives, pump and valve parts and light-emitting diodes.

Trump's comments appeared to increase the stakes for potential retaliation by China.

Speaking at a weekly news conference, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng (高峰) said that the proposed U.S. tariffs would hit global supply chains, including foreign companies in the world's second-largest economy.

China accused the United States on Thursday of "opening fire" on the world with tariffs set to take effect on Friday, warning that it will respond the moment that duties on $34 billion in Chinese goods kick in.

In an attempt to persuade the Trump administration to step back, Beijing officials said yesterday that $20 billion of Chinese products set to be targeted by the USA are made by foreign companies. Chinese companies have started turning away from US soybean suppliers and looking to other sources for agricultural products. Beijing said it would not hesitate to match those tariffs either.

"The U.S. tariff move is in essence a hit to the global industry and value chain", Gao said.

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"The US has provoked this trade war".

One study said as many as 400,000 jobs could be lost. "We do not want to fight it, but in order to safeguard the interests of the country and the people, we have no choice but to fight", said Gao Feng, spokesman for China's commerce ministry.

Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater warned that the back and forth between China and the United States would damage American manufacturing and lead to job losses.

Products of beans made by a US company are displayed for sale at an global supermarket Jenny Lou's in Beijing, China June 29, 2018.

"These tariffs target the vital parts and components used in equipment manufacturing throughout the U.S.", Slater said.

He added that the trade war could cancel out previous gains from tax-code rewrite that Trump signed into law past year.

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China is expected to retaliate as soon as the United States tariffs go into effect, imposing duties on goods worth roughly the same amount but with a greater emphasis on politically sensitive agricultural products.

Trump has taken an aggressive stance on trade, fulfilling a campaign promise.

China has said it will not "fire the first shot" in a trade war with the United States, but its customs agency made clear on Thursday that Chinese tariffs on American goods would take effect immediately after USA duties on Chinese goods are put in place. But in doing so he has alienated and angered longtime US allies, many of which have imposed duties on American goods in response to Trump's tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. "To put it simply, the United States is firing at the whole world".

"We can expect further damage to the USA economy, workers, companies and consumers", he said.

"If the U.S. implements tariffs, they will actually be adding tariffs on companies from all countries, including Chinese and U.S. companies", Gao said.

Economists have for months warned of the potential damage to the United States and global economies from aggressive trade policies and protectionism, which would raise prices and upend global supply chains. "The decision to impose tariffs on Chinese goods will harm American consumers and businesses without addressing discriminatory and systemic Chinese trade practices and policies".

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