wnol.info June 23 2018

Trump pauses looming metal tariffs for close USA allies

June 23 2018, 04:38 | Irvin Gilbert

Trump pauses looming metal tariffs for close USA allies

China unveils list of potential retaliatory tariffs on US goods

Zhang Xiangchen, China's ambassador to the World Trade Organization, told Reuters on Thursday that China is preparing action against the U.S. in response to the new tariffs and other tariffs Trump recently put in place. The threat mirrors the United States duty hike of 15 percent on aluminum.

"We have one particular problem", the US President said before signing the order that will impose tariffs on hundreds of Chinese products, from shoes and clothing to consumer electronics.

"We're spending a lot of money on nuclear, our nuclear systems, to upgrade and in some cases brand new, whether it's submarines, nuclear submarines, and others", he said.

Trump said he views the Chinese as "a friend", and both sides are in the midst of negotiations.

The Commerce Ministry in Beijing said higher duties on American pork, wine, apples, steel pipe and other goods would offset Chinese losses due to Trump's tariff hike on steel and aluminium imports.

TASS said the Russian delegates demanded an explanation from the US delegation on why the tariffs were imposed selectively, in what they said was an apparent violation of Russia's "most favored nation" trade status in the United States.

China's response on Friday appeared to be aimed at increasing domestic United States pressure on Trump by making clear which exporters, including farm areas that voted for him in 2016, might be hurt.

But Friday's tariffs are the first time the Trump administration has directly targeted China with big trade sanctions.

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Betty Wang, an economist at ANZ bank, said China's reaction is "relatively mild".

Global stocks have plummeted as fears rise that the confrontation could provoke a damaging trade war. On Thursday, he said the WTO was "a disaster for us" and insisted its arbitrations were "unfair" to the U.S.

Lighthizer indicated the industries could include aerospace, maritime and rail transport equipment, and new energy vehicles. On Thursday, Trump also announced proposed tariffs of up to $60 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Alarm over Trump's protectionist leanings mounted earlier this month after he imposed hefty import tariffs on steel and aluminium under Section 232 of the 1962 U.S. Trade Expansion Act, which allows safeguards based on "national security". With almost 1.4 billion people, China is a big market for the largest U.S. businesses. White House officials said the actions came after years of efforts failed to convince China to change its behaviour.

If China and the USA can't reach an agreement on steel and aluminum trade, after a public consultation period which ends March 31, Beijing could begin collecting tariffs of 15 percent on imports worth $977 million, including fresh fruit, nuts, wines, denatured alcohol, ginseng, and seamless steel tubes. But the European Union said it would "reserve its rights" to impose countermeasures as long as the exemption remained temporary. American industry, agriculture in particular, as well as members of the president's own Republican party have voiced strident opposition to his recent trade moves.

The Foreign Ministry explained that low-priced and labor-intensive products from China have "considerably lowered" the consumption cost for the American consumer, all while helping the United States deal with inflation.

Countries affected by the measures, like China, can under WTO rules retaliate with tariffs on US goods worth a sum equivalent to the trading loss they would suffer from the USA tariffs.

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