Chinese exports accelerate as U.S. prepares new tariffs in heated row

Leroy Wright
August 8, 2018

China's exports soared in July, showing little impact from USA tariffs, as Washington finalises more duties on Chinese imports. Washington has long criticised China's trade surplus with the United States and has demanded Beijing cut it.

The dispute has continued to escalate, as Trump last week threatened to jack up the tariff rate on the next $200 billion in Chinese imports his administration plans to target to 25 percent, from the planned 10 percent.

Negotiations broke off after the Trump administration imposed the tariffs on US$34 billion in Chinese imports, a move the Chinese said would void any promises they'd made in negotiations.

China has already retaliated with duties of its own, and has pledged to match the United States dollar-for-dollar with new tariffs, including on the next $16 billion.

The duties are part of a broader round of United States tariffs on $50bn worth of goods announced in March.

Chinese state media, reflecting the government's stance, has said China will not be cowed in the face of US threats.

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The latest commentary from state media on Wednesday took a softer line after resorting to personal attacks against Trump earlier in the week, saying China could get through the storm but refrained from directly mentioning the US President.

"Although this may for a moment bring preening with delight, it will make it hard to resolve economic imbalances or out of kilter politics and other deep-rooted problems".

The investigation had revealed that China uses joint venture requirements, foreign investment restrictions, and administrative review and licensing processes to require or pressure technology transfer from United States companies and it deprives U.S. companies of the ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology-related negotiations.

The Semiconductor Industry Association expressed disappointment at USTR's decision to keep the sector on the tariff list.

Trump responded with a warning that the US would consider tariffs on another $100 billion in Chinese goods.

The office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said its "exhaustive" investigation showed "China's acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory and burden US commerce".

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