China triggers $75 billion tariff hike despite Trump delay

President Donald Trump's flip-flop comes after recent market volatility and economic uncertainty and amid a debate about whether the United States is heading for a slowdown that would imperil his reelection chances. — AFP  File

China triggers $75 billion tariff hike despite Trump delay

In his latest attempt to bring electronics manufacturing back to the US, President Trump is flat out calling on all US companies to stop assembling their products in China.

China unveiled on Friday retaliatory tariffs against about $75 billion worth of US goods, putting an additional 10% on top of existing rates in the latest tit-for-tat exchange in a protracted dispute between the world's top two economies.

China's imposition of additional tariffs is a forced response to the USA unilateralism and trade protectionism, it said.

Beijing appealed to Washington to "meet China halfway" and end a tariff war after Trump said Americans might need to endure economic pain to achieve longer-term benefits.

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The tech industry disagrees. "This is a great opportunity for the United States", Trump added. "I want Apple to build their plants in the United States". Trump had originally announced that his administration would impose 10% tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports on September 1, but later relented, and exempted smart phones and other consumer electronics until mid-December.

The sales of 9,589 tonnes for delivery in the current marketing year will probably be rolled ahead to be delivered in the next year, which begins on September 1, said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based broker U.S. Commodities.

Xi returned the favor by treating Trump to an elaborate state visit later that year, feting him with a private performance of the Peking Opera and a military procession that impressed the American president.

The two leaders met most recently on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, in late June, during which Trump announced that trade talks would resume.

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China first responded to the new tariffs by halted all purchases of US agricultural products and allowing the yuan to devalue to above the 7-per-dollar level for the first time in more than 10 years.

Negotiations are deadlocked over how to enforce a deal.

"China's decision to implement additional tariffs was forced by the US' unilateralism and protectionism", the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement. But talks in Shanghai in July ended with no indication of progress. Carmakers such as Daimler and Tesla had adjusted their prices in China when the auto and auto parts tariffs had been suspended.

BMW and Daimler ship large numbers of sport utility vehicles from plants in the United States to China, while Tesla doesn't yet make its electric cars in the country. Our economy, because of our gains in the last 2 1/2 years, is much larger than that of China. Most of Ford's exports are from the Lincoln luxury brand, but most of the vehicles it sells in China are made in joint venture factories.

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This mirrors the timetable the U.S. has laid out for 10% tariffs on almost US$300 billion of Chinese shipments. But their lopsided trade balance meant China was running out of imports for retaliation.

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