Published: Thu, July 05, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Time difference gives China head start on tariff war with U.S.

Time difference gives China head start on tariff war with U.S.

And signs are growing that the escalating global trade dispute is already affecting the world's top economy, with punitive duties now in place for steel and aluminium and the White House threatening to slap duties on auto imports.

The United States is "opening fire" on the world with its threatened tariffs, the Chinese government warned on Thursday, saying Beijing will respond the instant USA measures go into effect as the two locked horns in a bitter trade war.

An American company that ships cherries to a coastal province in southeast China recently encountered a new hurdle at the border: Customs officers ordered a load into quarantine for a week, so it spoiled and was sent back to the United States.

European officials have told Reuters that China has put pressure on the European Union to issue a strong joint statement against US President Donald Trump's trade policies, but so far they have insisted on not taking sides.

Uncertainty hangs over companies, supply chains and investment plans, he said.

Unsurprisingly, the administration has cited national security concerns to back its decision - the same concerns the administration cites when denying the acquisition of U.S. technology-related companies by Chinese enterprises. Since June, agents have taken a closer look at every product.

The tariffs target a broad spectrum of Chinese goods - such as passenger vehicles, radio transmitters, aircraft parts and computer hard drives - from industries Washington says have benefited from unfair trade practices. "The real battle will be on the flanks" - in the form of unnecessary inspections, product quarantines and heightened regulatory scrutiny.

"US measures are essentially attacking global supply and value chains". The initial set of American tariffs could rock companies in the technology sector and hike the price of "Walmart-type" products.

"But the country will encounter more barriers in future development, to which we should learn to adapt", it said. -China trade has been brewing for years, but has intensified rapidly in 2018.

Relations have soured between US President Donald Trump's administration and that of Chinese President Xi Jinping since they met in Beijing past year, sparking fears of an all-out trade war. On April 4, China fired back.

Yesterday, the EU's top two officials warned about greater trade tensions with the USA as Mr Trump weighs tariffs on foreign cars after irking American allies with metal-import levies.

The U.S. alert, also circulated in January, urged Americans to "exercise increased caution in China due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws and special restrictions on dual U.S".

Thus far, the US president has showed no interest in a last-minute truce.

As a possible follow-up, the U.S. has a public hearing scheduled for July 24 to weigh tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods including machinery and plastics.

The global commercial order is being shaken by the Trump administration's use of an obscure United States trade-law provision on national security to justify steel and aluminium tariffs against a host of countries including defence allies.

The Washington Post's Yang Liu contributed from Beijing.

Like this: