BEIJING / WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China on Wednesday responded to the Trump administration's plan to impose tariffs on $ 50 billion in Chinese products, retaliating against a list of similar tariffs on key US imports, including soybeans, aircraft, automobiles, whiskey and chemicals
Beijing's list of 25 percent additional tariffs for American products cover 106 items with a commercial value corresponding to the $ 50 billion targeted at Washington's list, said China's trade and finance ministries.
The effective date will depend on when the EE action takes effect. UU
The announcement triggered more heavy sales in global stock markets and commodities, with US stock futures falling 1.5 percent, soybean futures <Sv1 falling 3.7 percent and the dollar extending briefly the first losses. China's yuan skidded in offshore trade.
The scale of China's tariffs was in line with Beijing's promise to mount an agreed response, but it was launched sooner than many observers expected, adding to market fears that the two largest economies in the world they are spiraling towards a commercial war that could shake the global economy.
Unlike Washington's list, which was filled with many obscure industrial items, China's list hits US exports.
Hours before, the US government UU It revealed a detailed breakdown of some 1,300 Chinese industrial, transport and medical products that could be subject to 25 percent tariffs, from light-emitting diodes to chemicals and machine parts.
The Washington measure, whose general objective is last month, aims to force Beijing to address what Washington says is a deep-seated theft of US intellectual property. UU And forced transfer of technology from US companies to Chinese competitors, charges that the Chinese authorities deny.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China had shown sincerity in wanting to resolve the trade dispute through negotiations.
"But the best opportunities to solve the problems through dialogue and negotiations have been repeatedly omitted by the US side," he told a news conference on Wednesday.
"We are sorry that soy is on the list, we have done everything to prevent this from happening, but we are still asking for a resolution," Zhang Xiaoping, director of the US Soybean Export Council in China, told Reuters.
The tariff schedule of the office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer followed the imposition of tariffs by China on fruits, nuts, pork and wine from the United States. worth 3,000 million dollars to protest against the new US steel and aluminum tariffs imposed last month by Trump.
The publication of the Washington list begins a public comment and the consultation period is expected to last about two months.
Many consumer electronics products, such as cell phones manufactured by Apple Inc. and laptops manufactured by Dell, were excluded, as were footwear and clothing, with a sigh of relief to retailers who feared higher costs to consumers. American consumers.
A US industry source said the list was unexpected in that it largely exempts leading consumer grade technology products, a of the main export categories from China to the United States.
"The technology industry will feel as if it dodged a bullet in general," the source said, but added that traditional manufacturers of industrial products, together with pharmaceuticals and medical device companies, could suffer.
Many US business groups UU They support Trump's efforts to stop the theft of US intellectual property. But they have questioned whether tariffs are the right approach. They warn that the disruption of supply chains that depend on Chinese components will ultimately increase costs for consumers.
"Tariffs are a proposed response, but are likely to create new challenges in the form of significant additional costs for US manufacturers and consumers," National Timber Association chairman Jay Timmons said in a statement. .
THE ALGORITHM PROTECTS US CONSUMERS UU
USTR developed tariff targets using a computer algorithm designed to choose products that would inflict maximum damage on Chinese exporters, but limit the damage to US consumers. UU
A USTR official said that the list obtained an initial cleanup by removing products identified as likely to cause disruptions to the US economy. UU And those who should be excluded for legal reasons.
"The remaining products were classified according to the possible impact on US consumers, according to the trade data available that involve sources from alternative countries for each product," the official, who spoke under Reuters, told Reuters. condition of anonymity.
USTR said that the tariff list focuses on products benefiting from China's industrial policies, including the "Made in China 2025" program, which seeks to replace imports of advanced technology with national products in strategies industries, such as advanced information technology, robotics and pharmaceuticals.
Such policies compel US companies to transfer their technology and intellectual property to Chinese companies and "reinforce China's declared intention to seize economic leadership in advanced technology as set out in its industrial plans," the USTR said.
Many products in those segments appear on the list, including antibiotics and industrial robots and aircraft parts.
USTR did include some key consumer products from China, including flat-panel televisions and motor vehicles, both electric and petrol, with engines of 3 liters or less.
A Reuters analysis that compared the listed products with the 2017 Census Bureau import data showed $ 3.9 billion in imports of flat-panel TVs and $ 1.4 billion in imports of vehicles from China.
Among the vehicles likely to receive tariffs is the Buick Envision sport utility vehicle from General Motors Co, which is assembled in China and sold in the United States. Volvo, owned by China's Geely Motors, also exports vehicles manufactured in China to the United States.
More than 200 products on the list did not see US imports last year, including communications satellites and large aircraft, while it is unlikely to import some categories, such as "mortars" and "launchers" grenades "manufactured in China.
USTR scheduled a public hearing on May 15 on rates, which were announced as a result of an investigation under Section 301 of the US Trade Act. UU From 1974.
China ran a $ 375 billion trade surplus of goods with the United States in 2017, a figure that Trump has demanded to cut by $ 100 billion.
Report of David Lawder, Jason Lange, Ginger Gibson, Steve Holland and David Chance in WASHINGTON; Michael Martina, Cheng Fang, Ryan Woo, Ben Blanchard, Tony Munroe, Cate Cadell in Beijing and Engen Tham in Shanghai; Additional reports by Tom Miles; Edition of Sam Holmes and Kim Coghill