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Trump’s trade war: what is it and which products are affected?

08 July 2018, 03:24 | Joann Bryant

Workers transfer bags of soybeans at a port in Nantong in China's eastern Jiangsu province on March 22

As U.S.-China tit-for-tat tariffs approach here's what could happen

Team Trump and China slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on $34 billion worth of U.S. and Chinese imports on Friday, with Beijing accusing Washington of triggering the "largest-scale trade war" as the world's two biggest economies escalated their battle.

China's customs authority announced that additional tariffs for some imports from the United States worth the same amount, including agricultural products, vehicles and aquatic products, also took effect on the same day.

United States exporters stand to lose, as they will miss out on the massive tariff reductions by the Chinese government, which is determined to open its market wider. It said American companies want fairer treatment but will be hurt by U.S.

"Increased tensions in the US-China economic relationship will negatively impact ... operations in China", William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said in a statement Friday.

The US and China have exchanged the first salvos in what could become a protracted trade war, slapping tariffs on $US34 billion worth of each other's goods and giving no sign of willingness to discuss a truce.

"The United States has waged the biggest trade war in economic history against the rules of the World Trade Organization", China's Commerce Ministry said in a statement, describing the US tariffs as "textbook trade hegemony".

The president's tariffs, the PIIE's researchers conclude, are "a prime example of 20th century tools aimed at the knowledge-embodying trade flows of the 21st century".

China's tariffs on hundreds of U.S. goods include top exports such as soybeans, sorghum and cotton, threatening USA farmers in states that backed Trump in the 2016 USA election, such as Texas and Iowa.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seeking to avoid a trade war, has expressed support for eliminating the EU's auto tariffs.

China is the biggest buyer of US soybeans, importing more than $12.4 billion worth of the oil seed in 2017.




China is targeting agriculture products and mechanical parts for the energy sector, whereas the USA is aiming its tariffs at a large number of industrial products and resources.

Businesses around the United States told the central bank that spending plans had been scaled back or postponed and they also warned of further adverse effects from the trade conflict, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

The start of the trade war likely confirms the widening rupture between Trump and his own Republican Party, a traditional champion of free trade and big business.

A trade dispute between the USA and China escalated on Friday, but Wall Street focused on a solid jobs report instead.

President Donald Trump is already threatening additional rounds of tariffs, possibly targeting more than $US500 billion ($A673 billion) worth of Chinese goods, about the total amount of USA imports from China past year.

Mr Trump has already imposed tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels, and started charging levies on the imports of steel and aluminium from the European Union, Mexico and Canada.

"After the USA imposed its tariffs, China also took effective measures", said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.

The EU's executive Commission said Friday that "recent import statistics show trade diversion of steel products into the EU as a result of the additional 25 percent tariff on steel imposed by the U.S".

The Trump administration is confronting China over tactics it says include stealing technology or pressuring foreign companies to hand it over. These tariffs will do nothing to protect U.S.jobs, but they will undermine the benefits of tax reform and drive up prices for a wide range of products as diverse as tool sets, batteries, remote controls, flash drives and thermostats. "So we have 50 plus 200 plus nearly 300", Trump said, per reports from CNBC and Reuters. "'Cause China - and I have great respect for President Xi, and for China - they've been killing us". White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said while Xi's response was encouraging, the Trump administration needs to see "concrete actions from China".

"The president is trying to fix long-term problems that should have been dealt with long time ago [and] weren't", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier this week, "and there obviously is going to be some pulling and tugging as we try to deal with very serious problems".



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