China trade war escalates

Trade war: The US and China just slapped new tariffs on each other

Last month the United States electric auto maker announced plans to build a new plant in Shanghai, the first in China that will be wholly owned by a foreign company.

Beijing has denied USA allegations that it systematically forces the unfair transfer of US technology and has said that it adheres to WTO rules.

The penalties, previously announced, apply to $16 billion of goods from both sides including automobiles and metal scrap from the United States and Chinese-made factory machinery and electronic components.

"The risk that current trade tensions escalate further with adverse effects on confidence, asset prices and investment is the greatest near-term risk to global growth", International Monetary Fund chief economist Maury Obstfeld told a news conference last month.

And that is on top of U.S. tariffs on Chinese appliances and solar panels, as well as steel and aluminum from around the world - a total of 10,000 products.

"If you're going to impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods", Colvin told NPR, "You can't avoid harm to US consumers".

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"The Trump administration has attempted to limit the application of tariffs to manufacturing goods, so it's really masked the impact on consumers even though it raises the costs for inputs to American manufacturers and service providers, that will ultimately be felt by the consumers", Jake Colvin, a vice president at the National Foreign Trade Council and one of the people who testified at this week's tariff hearings, told NPR's David Greene.

Economists reckon that every $100 billion of imports affected by tariffs would reduce global trade by around 0.5 percent. The Chinese side seemed unready to offer new ways to address the Trump administration's concerns that the bilateral trade deficit was too steep and that Beijing was coercing USA companies into transferring technology to Chinese partners, they said.

China said it will also file a legal challenge with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the US' increase, which American officials say was a response to unfair trade practices by Beijing.

The dispute centres around Mr Trump's demand for Beijing to drop its protectionist economic stance and buy more U.S. goods.

The tariffs, scheduled weeks ago, did not interfere with the start of a second day of trade talks in Washington led by Chinese commerce vice minister Wang Shouwen and US Treasury undersecretary for global affairs, David Malpass.

However, Trump on Monday told Reuters in an interview he did not "anticipate much" from this week's talks.

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A spokeswoman at China's embassy in Washington could not immediately be reached for comment.

The trade war between rival economic powerhouses has escalated despite the meeting between USA and Chinese officials on Wednesday in Washington for a futile attempt to avert further economic clashes.

Though it is too early for trade damage to show up in much economic data, tariffs are beginning to increase costs for consumers and businesses on both sides of the Pacific, forcing companies to adjust supply chains and pricing, with some US companies looking to decrease reliance on China.

He said: "I think China is manipulating their currency, absolutely".

USA commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said China would not be able to continue to retaliate at the same pace as the United States, since "we have many more bullets than they do".

China's list of 333 US product categories hit with duties includes coal, copper scrap, fuel, steel products, buses and medical equipment.

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