China’s Economic Czar Warns U.S. Treasury Secretary on Tariffs
BEIJING — China’s newly appointed economic czar told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday that Beijing was ready to defend its interests after President Trump announced plans to slap tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports.
Vice Premier Liu He told Mr. Mnuchin in a phone call that the order Mr. Trump signed on Thursday violated international trade rules, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The White House says the planned tariffs are intended to punish Beijing for what it depicts as the theft of American technology.
Xinhua quoted Mr. Liu as saying that China was “ready and capable of defending its national interest and hopes both sides will remain rational.”
China said Friday that it planned to raise tariffs on a $3 billion list of American goods, including pork, apples and steel pipes in response to the steel and aluminum duties announced earlier by Mr. Trump.
The Chinese move appeared to be a warning shot aimed at increasing domestic pressure on Mr. Trump by making clear which exporters, including those in farm areas that voted for the president in 2016, might be hurt.
American farmers, from hog producers in Iowa to apple growers in Washington State to winemakers in California, expressed deep disappointment over being put in the middle of a potential trade war with China.
China’s Commerce Ministry said Beijing was considering a tariff increase of 25 percent on pork and aluminum scrap, mirroring Mr. Trump’s 25 percent charge on steel. A second list of goods, including wine, apples, ethanol and stainless steel pipe, would be charged 15 percent, mirroring Mr. Trump’s tariff hike on aluminum.
Over all, United States farmers shipped nearly $20 billion of goods to China in 2017. The American pork industry sent $1.1 billion in products, making China the No.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]3 market for American pork.
“No one wins in these tit-for-tat trade disputes, least of all the farmers and the consumers,” said Jim Heimerl, a pig farmer from Johnstown, Ohio, and the president of the National Pork Producers Council.
The United States has complained for years about China’s sharp-elbowed trading practices, accusing it of pirating trade secrets, manipulating its currency, forcing foreign companies to hand over technology and flooding world markets with cheap steel and aluminum that drive down prices and put American manufacturers out of business.
The spiraling trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies has spurred concerns among companies and investors that global commerce could be depressed.[tooltip type=”box” html=”Input Your Content Here” box_background_color=”#eeeeee” box_opacity=”0.95″ box_padding=”10″ box_border_color=”#3F3F3F” box_border_width=”1″ box_border_radius=”0″ id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac” /]