Metal tariffs suspended for key U.S. trade partners

Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross on Tariffs Possible Response From China

Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross on Tariffs Possible Response From China

After spending seven months investigating whether China is engaged in unfair trade practices, the Trump administration announced March 22 that it will impose tariffs on as much as US$60 billion in Chinese imports.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to 60 billion U.S. dollars worth of imports from China, the latest unilateral move that poses a threat to global trade. This waiting periods will give industry lobbyists and U.S. lawmakers a chance to water down a proposed target list that runs to 1,300 products, many in technology sectors.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 424.69 points to 23,533.20 Friday, stretching its weekly loss to more than 1,400 points, or 5.7%.

"As far as a possible trade war is concerned, we never wanted it to start, but if somebody imposes a trade war on us...we will fight to the end", stated Ambassador Tianki.

China's claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion United States in ship-borne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

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"We have a tremendous intellectual property theft situation going on", Trump told reporters.

"And we will protect American workers and American intellectual property through strong enforcement of our trade rules".

He says nuclear option would be to sell a "couple hundred billion" in US Treasuries, which would tank markets and raise US interest rates.

China also announced retaliatory measures against the US.

It said it has compiled a list of 120 products worth almost $1 billion, including fresh fruit and wine, upon which it would impose a 15 percent tariff if the two countries fail to resolve their trade differences "within a stipulated time".

Other American products like pork and recycled aluminum goods are at risk of a 25 percent tariff, according to the Chinese commerce ministry. "It's encouraging - we would like to participate in a process that helps educate the administration on potential downstream harms of the tariffs", said David French, the chief lobbyist for the National Retail Federation, which was among a group of 45 trade associations that is urging Mr. Trump to refrain from imposing tariffs.

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Betty Wang, an economist at ANZ bank, said China's reaction is "relatively mild". A very conservative calculation, by some estimates, is that trade deficit results in about two million more jobs in China and two million less here.

US Vice President Mike Pence hailed the new measures, saying they made it clear "the era of economic surrender is over".

"Chinese retaliation against US wine would put our producers at a significant disadvantage in one of the most important markets in the world at a critical time", said Bobby Koch, CEO of the Wine Institute.

Lighthizer indicated the industries could include aerospace, maritime and rail transport equipment, and new energy vehicles. The president also directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to propose new investment restrictions on Chinese companies within 60 days to safeguard technologies the USA views as strategic.

"We strongly call on the USA government to work together with the Chinese government to resolve disputes in a constructive way and avert the outbreak of a trade war", it said in a statement on its website.

China is the world's biggest importer of soybeans, most of which are used for animal feed.

But while the USA government's move on steel and aluminum weakens the WTO, its complaint against China's technology-poaching suggests it may yet rely on the body when convenient.

Gareth Stace, a director with the trade association UK Steel, said the temporary exemption from tariffs would be "greeted with an enormous sigh of relief" by the UK's steel sector.

About 97 percent of USA wine exports come from California.

"Trump's tariff plans have created uncertainty and put global stock markets under pressure", says Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, a United Kingdom -based investment firm.

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 U.S.is in consultations with Canada and Mexico in an effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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