Global

Another View: Trump makes it harder for China to cut a deal

Another View: Trump makes it harder for China to cut a deal

TIANJIN, China-Jack Ma, co-founder of Chinese e-tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and a known advocate for globalization, expressed his growing pessimism over China-U.S. trade frictions, saying it would be a "mess" for all parties involved. The White House statement announcing the new tariffs blasts China for retaliating against earlier measures and warns that any further defiance will lead to the US levying tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports. China has said that it will respond with another $60 billion in duties on US imports.

China will target goods such as liquefied natural gas, produced in states loyal to the president.

But Beijing is running out of room to respond to any further USA tariffs on a dollar-for-dollar basis, raising concerns it may resort to other measures to weather what could be a protracted trade battle. One top Chinese official has warned darkly that the country could cut off exports of key components to US manufacturers if tensions worsen. "They still have many opportunities despite the trade frictions between China and the U.S.", Ma said.

The Americans and Chinese haven't held high-level talks since June, raising doubts about whether a resolution can be reached anytime soon.

At sea and in the sky, the US president's trade war with China has ignited a freight frenzy.

The tariff exchange is creating casualties in the United States.

The Latest: Sec. Ross: Americans won't feel trade-war sting
Jack Ma: trade war means Alibaba can no longer create 1 million jobs in US

Chinese firms were the most pessimistic since the poll began in 2009. So are the consumers who buy everything from burglar alarms to baseball gloves.

Background: China cut tariffs on almost 200 consumer products in December 2017.

In the long run higher prices for Chinese goods in the U.S. might damage its market share there, with negative effects on employment in China, but that's a slow process. "China will never go down the road of relying on yuan depreciation to stimulate exports". But in an interview with China's official news agency (Xinhua) this week, Ma said the recent waves of tariffs implemented by the Trump administration compelled him to abandon the pledge. The U.S.' average applied MFN rate was 3.4% in 2017, and in general the Trump administration has accused China of being a protectionist economy.

A bad policy just got a lot worse. Stop coercing technology transfers. It has other options, even when it runs out of US imports to tax.

In the past week the slow dribble of tariffs and counter-tariffs has rapidly grown into a full-fledged confrontation between the world's two greatest economic powers. "They know if they do it the organic way - by funding R&D and building up a university system - it's going to take 30 years". They are likely to balk at meeting any US demands that would slow the high-tech drive. "The Chinese don't want to wait that long".

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