Economy

Trump pauses looming metal tariffs for close U.S. allies

Trump pauses looming metal tariffs for close U.S. allies

US President Donald Trump on Thursday hit China with tariffs on up to Dollars 60 billion of imports to retaliate against the "theft" of American intellectual property, ratcheting up trade tensions between the world's two largest economies.

After President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on products including Chinese steel, Beijing responded Friday with a threat to slap an equal 25 percent charge on US products such as pork, and a 15 percent tariff on such things as wine, apples, ethanol and stainless-steel pipe.

Trump has given his administration 15 days to come up with a list of tariffs, after which there would be 30 days of public consultation, and nearly certainly intense lobbying from within the United States.

Nationalistic tabloid Global Times said in an editorial that the Trump administration's latest moves are "playing with fire and it will end in disaster for the US".

In the USA, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index continued to move lower on Friday. "But China is not afraid of, and will not recoil from, a trade war".

More than 1,000 products may be hit by US duties, according to the US Trade Representative.

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The tariffs are meant to address two problems: intellectual property theft by China and a steep and persistent trade deficit.

Before Lighthizer's congressional testimony, Germany's economy minister, Peter Altmaier, said he had found officials in Washington "open to our arguments" during a recent visit with the European Union trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom. "The list that China has announced appears to be a retaliation, but still it is very measured", said Li Yong, senior fellow of China Association of International Trade. Beijing said that it would impose a 15 percent tariff on goods like fresh fruit, nuts, wine and seamless steel pipes, and that it was considering a second round of levies, of 25 percent, on other goods, including aluminum.

Williams estimated that the $506 billion that China exported to the United States drove around 2.5 percent of its total gross domestic product, and the $50-60 billion targeted by the USA tariffs contributed just around 0.25 percent. "China is strongly disappointed and firmly opposes such an action".

Trump's move on Thursday was seen as a direct shot in a brewing trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

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US Vice President Mike Pence hailed the new measures, saying they made it clear "the era of economic surrender is over".

However, Mr. Liu said the investigation report "violates worldwide trade rules and is beneficial to neither Chinese interests, US interests nor global interests", Xinhua cited him as saying.

Lighthizer indicated the industries could include aerospace, maritime and rail transport equipment, and new energy vehicles.

The proposed new tariffs from the USA are to be submitted to President Trump in about two weeks.

If China wants to avoid USA tariffs, it needs to start taking concrete action, the official said, adding that Washington has not given Beijing any to-do list to remedy trade ties.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said they aimed to increase educational and cultural exchanges to help mutual understanding and boost friendship.

Non-Chinese companies, including those based in Taiwan, accounted for more than 40% of China's $2.26 trillion in exports previous year.

Gareth Stace, a director with the trade association UK Steel, said the temporary exemption from tariffs would be "greeted with an enormous sigh of relief" by the UK's steel sector.

Several U.S. chief executives attending a high-profile forum in Beijing, including BlackRock Inc.'s Larry Fink and Apple Inc.'s Tim Cook, urged restraint amid the intensifying trade spat.

The White House has also said that America's massive trade deficit with China is estimated to have resulted in about two million job losses in the US.