USA proposes higher tax on $200 billion in Chinese imports:The Asahi Shimbun

Roman Schwartz
August 4, 2018

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

"We said before that this round of tariffs amounted to doubling down on the recklessness of imposing trade policy that will hurt USA families and workers more than they will hurt China", said Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation. "This won't work on China", Geng said.

"China is fully prepared for the United States' threats to escalate the two countries' trade war and will have to fight back to defend its dignity and the interests of its people", said the statement posted on the Ministry of Commerce's website on Thursday.

The levies are in addition to the tariffs on $34 billion of imports that have already gone into effect and the $16 billion of tariffs announced but not yet implemented.

Chinese leaders have offered to narrow their politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more American goods.

China is willing to resolve differences with the United States on an equal footing, the Chinese Government's top diplomat said after meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but added they did not address their trade war too specifically.

The highest penalties on the new list would be imposed on honey, vegetables, mushrooms and chemicals, targeting farming and mining areas that supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

Beijing's earlier round of tariffs appeared created to minimize the impact on the Chinese economy by targeting soybeans, whiskey and other goods available from Brazil, Australia and other suppliers.

Trump recently threatened to slap punitive tariffs on all Chinese imports, which accounted for more than $500 billion past year.

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Chinese authorities warned earlier that if the dispute escalated, they would adopt unspecified "comprehensive measures".

"The money comes after farmers, especially soybean growers, have felt the brunt of retaliatory tariffs placed on agriculture by China and other nations that the Trump administration has penalized with tariffs on imports", NPR's Brian Naylor reported.

"China's position is very firm and clear and has not changed".

The United States and China have the world's biggest trading relationship but official ties are increasingly strained over complaints that Beijing's technology development tactics hurt American companies. "So, this unifies NAFTA and US-Europe, Australia, Japan - China is increasingly isolated with a weak economy".

"China's position remains clear and unchanged: blackmail and U.S. pressure against the PRC will never work", the diplomat said, answering the question on the issue.

The goods in the amount of $200 bln represent nearly the half of US imports from China and about 10% of total USA imports per year. It wants China to stop stealing USA corporate secrets, abandon plans to boost its high-tech industries at America's expense and stop subsidizing Chinese companies with cheap loans that enable them to compete unfairly.

Last month, Trump threatened to impose tariffs on all goods imported from China.

The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap surged 7.3 per cent to $46.3 billion.

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