China threatened Friday to tax an additional $60 billion a year worth of US imports if the Trump administration imposes its own new levies on Chinese goods. "For instance, those USA products that become gradually indispensable for Chinese firms and consumers would be subject to additional levies of 5 percent".
Other US 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.
At the same time, China has expressed a willingness to go to the mat over tariffs.
This was in response to Trump administration's proposal of a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. The move was meant to bring China back to the negotiating table for talks over U.S. demands for structural changes to the Chinese economy and a cut in the bilateral trade deficit, but China's response suggests the move had failed. China retaliated in kind with duties on US imports.
Timing will depend on the actions of the United States, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a separate statement. The president has imposed tariffs on $85 billion worth of foreign goods so far, meaning that, at most, his tariffs would raise about $21 billion, a minuscule percentage (0.1 percent) of the debt.
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A commentary on the front page stated that Trump's eagerness for others to play along with his drama is "wishful thinking", pointing out that the United States had worsened the trade spat with China into a "zero-sum game".
Based on rational and thorough research and consultation, China's latest move takes into full consideration the interests of Chinese people and companies, and is expected to defend the multilateral trading system and global industrial chain, according to Chinese authorities and analysts.
Despite the escalating trade row, the economy's resilience has been remarkable, said Tu Xinquan, director of the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics.
The trade war, increasing corporate bankruptcies, and the huge decline in the value of the yuan against the dollar have prompted worries that China's economy could face a more sluggish pace in growth. The divergence between United States agriculture's collective struggle to retain healthy profits without access to the Chinese market and Huawei beating all of its American competitors to become the second most popular smartphone brand in the world just after South Korea's Samsung, is indicative of the fact that many of China's flagship brands cannot only survive but thrive even when being cut off from the U.S. market. It is much more rational compared with the 25 percent tariff hikes threatened by the USA. which is a trade "stick", " said Li Yong, a senior research fellow at the China Association of International Trade.
The U.S. tariffs, either in place or threatened, add up to nearly half of the value of goods it imported from China past year. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last week called trade tensions a "chronic problem" that would likely take years to resolve. "Obviously, the USA tariffs won't help and they are going to cause some damage", he said.
The People's Daily editorial said the United States was "turning worldwide trade into a zero-sum game" in the hope of forcing China to make a tremendous compromise.