China Vows to 'Counterattack' US as Trade Spat Worsens

By Colvin, Jill; Wong, Gillian | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), April 7, 2018 | Go to article overview

China Vows to 'Counterattack' US as Trade Spat Worsens


Colvin, Jill, Wong, Gillian, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


WASHINGTON - China's government vowed Friday to "counterattack with great strength if President Donald Trump goes ahead with plans to raise U.S. tariffs on an additional $100 billion worth of Chinese goods and said negotiations were impossible under current conditions.

Trump's surprise move Thursday to instruct the U.S. trade representative to consider additional tariffs came a day after Beijing said it would tax $50 billion in American products, including soybeans and small aircraft, in response to a U.S. move this week to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports.

In Beijing, a Commerce Ministry spokesman said China doesn't want a trade war - but isn't afraid to fight one.

"If the U.S. side announces the list of products for $100 billion in tariffs, the Chinese side has fully prepared and will without hesitation counterattack with great strength, spokesman Gao Feng said.

He gave no details of what measures Beijing might take.

Trump's proposal intensified what was already shaping up to be the biggest trade battle since World War II. Global financial markets had fallen sharply as the world's two biggest economies squared off over Beijing's aggressive trade tactics. They calmed down Wednesday and Thursday on hopes the U.S. and China would find a diplomatic solution but slid Friday after Beijing said it would fight the Trump administration's latest threats.

The White House announced after markets closed Thursday that Trump had instructed the Office of the United States Trade Representative to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate and, if so, to identify to which products they should apply. He's also instructed his secretary of agriculture "to implement a plan to protect our farmers and agricultural interests.

"China's illicit trade practices - ignored for years by Washington - have destroyed thousands of American factories and millions of American jobs, Trump said in a statement announcing the decision.

The latest escalation comes after the U.S. on Tuesday said it would impose 25 percent duties on $50 billion of imports from China, and China quickly retaliated by listing $50 billion of products that it could hit with its own 25 percent tariffs. The Chinese list Wednesday included soybeans, the biggest U.S. export to China, and aircraft up to 45 tons in weight. Also on the list were American beef, whiskey, passenger vehicles and industrial chemicals.

Earlier in the week, Beijing announced separate import duties on $3 billion in U.S. goods in response to the Trump administration's duties on all steel and aluminum imports, including from China.

The Trump administration has said it wants to crack down on China's theft of American intellectual property. …

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