WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has just imposed tariffs on hundreds of Chinese products, from X-ray tubes to incinerators. And Beijing is fighting back with soy, beef, seafood and other products.
The punch and kickback announced on Friday in Washington and Beijing dangerously moved the two largest economies in the world near a trade war that would inflate prices for consumers, interrupt the flow of goods and perhaps slow down a global economy that has been enjoying of its healthiest expansion in a decade.
"Everyone loses in a commercial war," says Philip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Issues and a former White House economic adviser. "It gets consumers who are in worse conditions". You get producers who are in worse conditions, farmers who are worse off and do not even reach your goal. "
In addition, China's tariffs come just as the United States is fighting with close allies such as the European Union, Canada and Mexico. in a separate dispute over steel and aluminum trade.
WHAT DID TRUMP?
The White House on Friday announced plans to apply 25 percent tariffs to more than 1,100 Chinese products, The administration had originally proposed tariffs in April, beginning with a list of 1,333 Chinese product lines, after receiving public comments, it eliminated 515 from the black list and added 284
As of July 6, the US will tax the 818 products, worth $ 34 billion a year in imports, which were left off the original list. will target the 284 additions, worth $ 16 billion, until you get comments from the public.
HOW DOES CHINA RESPOND?
Beijing immediately said it would retaliate with sanctions of the same scale on US products – and detailed details to impose tariffs on 545 US exports, including agricultural products, cars and seafood.
"The Chinese side does not want to fight a trade war, but facing the lack of vision of the US side, China has to fight hard," the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. "We will immediately introduce the same scale and equal tax measures, and all economic and commercial achievements made by the two parties will be invalidated."
American soybean farmers, who send about 60 percent of their exports to China, are especially concerned about Beijing's retaliation. Soybean prices were already falling before Friday's announcement.
Prices are likely to fall further if tariffs are imposed, "says Bill Shipley, president of the Iowa Soybean Association." This will put even more pressure on families and businesses that are already struggling with low commodity prices. "
HOW WILL CONSUMERS AND COMPANIES BE AFFECTED?
Rates are a tax, therefore, they increase the price of specific imports. Domestic producers can also increase their prices.
The Trump administration has tried to protect consumers from a direct impact of tariffs.The tariffs are mainly destined for Chinese industrial machinery, aerospace parts and communications technology, they save consumer goods As smartphones, toys and clothes that Americans buy in trucks from China, TVs and pharmaceuticals are eliminated inaron of the original rate list.
Even so, these rates will impose higher costs on US companies. UU Who use the equipment. And over time, those costs could be passed on to consumers. The impact will not be as visible as it would be if the consumer products were taxed directly.
On the contrary, the Trump administration earlier this year imposed heavy fees on imported washing machines. In May, the cost of laundry equipment had risen 17 percent from two months earlier, according to government data.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
The United States accuses China of using predatory tactics in a dizzying effort to supplant American technological supremacy. Among these are cyber theft. Beijing forces the United States and other foreign companies to deliver the technology as the price of admission to the vast Chinese market. And use the money of the Chinese government to outbid private companies for US technology. UU At prices above the market.
U.S. Officials say they fear that Beijing's long-term development strategy, dubbed "Made in China 2025," will hinder competition and harm US competitors. It requires the creation of Chinese global competitors in areas such as information technology, robotics, aerospace equipment, maritime engineering equipment, electric vehicles, biopharmaceutical products and medical devices.
Foreign business groups have complained for a decade that Beijing is squeezing economic fields They say that "Made in China 2025" seems to leave them little or no place in those industries.
But it is not always clear whether the United States is trying to stop China's drastic practices or prevent it from emerging as a legitimate rival.
THE 2 NATIONS HAVE NOT TREATED TO MAKE THINGS WORK?
Yes. And for a while last month it seemed that they had reached a truce. After a meeting in Washington, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared the trade war "on hold" and the suspended tariffs. Mnuchin said it after China committed to buy more products from the US. UU., Especially energy and agricultural products, and reduce the huge US trade gap with China: $ 336 billion last year. But critics dismissed that agreement as vague. And Trump stepped back and returned to the tariff threat.
Erin Ennis of the US-China Business Council says she suspects Beijing will wait to see if the United States really enforces US tariffs before it begins to tax US goods. . That could buy time for last-minute negotiations.
ARE NOT THE UNITED STATES ATTACKED IN OTHER COMMERCIAL DISPUTES?
Oh, yes. Trump angered the EU, Canada and Mexico by imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Worse still, he argued that imported metals represented a threat to the national security of the United States. UU., An insult to the long-time American allies that they rejected outright. It has also threatened to tax car imports, also for reasons of national security.
Critics say that Trump's decision to choose fights with friends in the United States weakens his hand against China.
Analysts say it would be smarter for the United States to enlist its allies to challenge China's drive to seize technology, rather than just unilateral tariffs. After all, companies in the advanced economies of the USA. The United States, Europe and Japan share the same complaints.
China is an expert in playing against countries and companies, Jennifer Hillman, a law professor at Georgetown University, testified last week before the Economic and Security Commission of the United States and China. If one complains, China can take it out of the market and do business with a more obedient competitor. It is better to present a united front.
AP writers Christopher Rugaber in Washington, Alexandra Olson in New York and Joe McDonald in Beijing and video journalist Teresa Crawford in Chicago contributed to this report.
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