President Trump has upped the ante in his latest announcement of imposing tariffs amounting to U.S. $100 billion on China.
This comes on the back of China’s move to retaliate equally by matching the US$50 billion in tariffs imposed initially by the Trump administration.
China has decided to add its own set of tariffs on goods from the U.S. such as soybeans, the biggest U.S. export to China, and aircraft up to 45 tons (41 metric tons) in weight.
Also, included on the list are American beef, whiskey, passenger vehicles, and industrial chemicals.
The Trump Administration has accused China of unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft.
Trump has also accused the World Trade Organization of favoring China, by offering tremendous perks and advantages to China over the U.S.
The trade rift between both countries has already created a lot of uncertainties in global markets with stock markets falling locally and internationally.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer reportedly called China’s move “unjustified” and said Trump’s proposal was an “appropriate response to China’s recent threat of new tariffs”.
“Such measures would undoubtedly cause further harm to American workers, farmers, and businesses,” he said in a statement. “Under these circumstances, the president is right to ask for additional appropriate action to obtain the elimination of the unfair acts, policies, and practices identified in USTR’s report.”
Meanwhile, China’s Commerce Ministry said in a statement it must “adopt new countermeasures” to protect the interests of the Chinese people, but it did not announce any specific measures.
The clash reflects the tension between Trump’s promises to narrow a U.S. trade deficit with China that stood at US$375.2 billion in goods last year and China’s ruling Communist Party’s development ambitions.
Trump says China’s trade practices have caused American factories to close and lead to the loss of American jobs.
Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, in his response to the trade rift said China is to be blamed and not Trump for any trade fight.
“We can’t allow China, which is a first-world country now and has to play by the rules, to steal our technology. Because when they steal our technology, they are stealing the guts of the American future,” Kudlow told reporters outside the White House.
He, however, was quick to point out that the current differences between the two countries could be solved through negotiation.
Yvad Billings Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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