Latest Round of Proposed Chinese Tariffs Includes Flooring

China imported US goods worth $130 billion a year ago and Friday's tariff hike hit $34 billion of that, with another $16 billion cited for a possible increase.

Last year, China only imported about $130 billion of US goods, so to retaliate it might increase the size of the tariffs it imposes or resort to what it calls "qualitative" measures, which USA businesses fear could mean reprisals against their China operations.

The U.S. president has said he may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese goods, roughly the total amount of U.S. imports from China a year ago.

"This act is typical trade bullying", a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. "And I don't think any of us know that exactly".

A Chinese Commerce Ministry statement, issued Wednesday following the Trump administration announcement, said China was "shocked" at the USA plans to levy the 10% tariffs. "If the US goes ahead with more, China needs a combination of tools and it is prudent to guard against downside risk to growth too".

"China is shocked by the USA move and the Chinese government, as always, will have to react to defend the core interests of our nation and people", the Commerce Ministry says.

Business leaders have been warning that if China didn't take real measures to address a lack of reciprocal market openness, it would sow retaliatory sentiment among its largest trading partners.

- Canada and Mexico - Canada and Mexico, members of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the U.S., have not been spared the Washington offensive on steel and aluminum and have imposed their own counter-tariffs on United States goods.

It's now safe to say that a trade war is underway between the United States and China. The Trump administration has tried to limit the impact of the trade war on consumers and any backlash that it might prompt, but the scale of these tariffs make it next to impossible to protect them.

Auto parts retailers, which would also be affected by the latest tariff threats the USA lobbed at China, fell more steeply than the broader market.

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On Tuesday, the president made good on his threat with the announcement of the new tariffs. Beijing also has filed a complaint in the World Trade Organization against the USA actions.

The market's drop was not as steep as what was seen in late March and early April when the escalating trade rhetoric between China and the United States led to the S&P falling more than 2 percent on four occasions. Especially the issue of technology development is regarded as a threat both to the economic and ultimately military dominance of the US. The move came just four days after the two countries imposed tit-for-tat tariffs of $34 billion on each other's products.

Republican U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said the U.S. announcement "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach".

South Korea's trade ministry said the trade war could be "prolonged and spread", adding that it would prepare responses and scenarios to cope with the economic impact of the trade row.

China 'cannot match fresh US tariffs, ' Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank said. It followed a 10.1% rise in April.

Research from Capital Economics (CE) shows sales from US-owned affiliates total $US350 billion - similar in size to the U.S. trade deficit.

U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping arrive for a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on November 9, 2017.

Major auto producing countries such as South Korea are also bracing for steep USA tariffs on autos and auto parts, as Trump has ordered a national security probe into the sector, which is expected to be completed this month.

China hasn't yet clarified how it will respond to the latest salvo. That would leave China only $80 billion for further retaliation.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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