Firms doing business in China mostly oppose tariffs, survey shows

Virginia Carson
July 15, 2018

China only imported $130 billion worth of goods from the United States a year ago - which is down nearly a third of the value of United States' imports from China. He had earlier said the new round would target $100 billion of Chinese imports at the same rate as the first, 25%, which he scaled down to 10%, perhaps to protect consumers.

A Commerce Ministry statement said Beijing will use revenue from the higher import duties to "alleviate the impact on enterprises and employees" but gave no details. "The Chinese government as always will have no choice but to take the necessary countermeasures", it said. This marks a dramatic escalation in global tensions, causing stocks to slump and with S&P 500 futures headed for their biggest drop in two weeks.

The clock now starts ticking on a two-month period of public comment before the levies are imposed.

The new list of tariff targets from the US Trade Representative includes vacuum cleaners, furniture and vehicle and bicycle parts, but US-branded smartphones and laptops were excluded. President Donald Trump has threatened higher tariffs on more than $500 billion of goods, or almost all of China's annual exports to the United States.

President Donald Trump has said he may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $US500 billion worth of Chinese goods - roughly the total amount of U.S. imports from China previous year.

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US officials released a list of thousands of Chinese imports the administration wants to hit with the tariffs, including hundreds of food products as well as tobacco, chemicals, coal, steel and aluminium.

The officials said they tried to target goods that would reduce the harm to U.S. consumers.

The new trade frictions sent investors running for cover, with equity markets across Asia tumbling more than one percent.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 11, 2018.

Some American business groups and senior lawmakers sharply criticized the latest action on Tuesday, with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Republican, saying it "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach".

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The statement said importers would be encouraged to shift to buying soybeans and other farm goods from countries that aren't affected by the tariffs. The US, the European Union, Japan and others will disagree and are expected to criticise China's failure to embrace market-based principles and reform its intellectual property and subsidy regimes, said the people, who asked not to be named because the meeting hasn't happened yet. "It will also result in retaliatory tariffs, further hurting American workers", a Chamber spokeswoman said, according to Reuters.

The general manager of a medical device exporter that makes 15 percent to 20 percent of its sales to the United States said he plans to fly to the US this week to negotiate with customers who stopped ordering its syringes and other equipment.

The trade war between the world's top two economies landed at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, as the United States demanded a "reckoning" over China's membership in the body.

"China stands in line with the worldwide community on the correct side of history to together protect the rules of the multilateral trade order", foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua said on Wednesday.

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