South Korea airs worries over fallout from US-China trade war

Soybean prices have fallen dramatically in recent weeks.
Daniel Acker  Bloomberg

On Wednesday, Beijing accused Washington of bullying and warned it would hit back after the Trump administration raised the stakes in their trade dispute, threatening 10 per cent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. That came four days after Washington added 25 percent duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing responded by increasing its own taxes on the same amount of American imports.

Asked what Beijing would do, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying gave no details but said, "We will take firm and forceful measures".

Oliver Jones from Capital Economics has warned that China's response to Trump's latest tariff threat could hit the United States stock market hard.

The tech sector, more broadly, will suffer from tariffs due to the nature and complexity of the global supply chain that it relies on.

"Unilateral actions that alienate long-standing USA allies and close off the US market to the rest of the world are not a recipe for economic growth and prosperity and are very unlikely to change China's unfair practices", ACC said.

"Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against US products".

He also called this latest round of proposed tariffs targeting $200 billion of Chinese goods "an appropriate response.to obtain the elimination of China's harmful industrial policies".

By expanding the list, the administration is beginning to hit products that US households buy, including such things as electric lamps and fish sticks.

Most US businesses operating in China oppose the use of tariffs in retaliation for the challenges they face, from an uneven playing field to poor protection of intellectual property rights, a survey showed on Thursday.

"Given China's likelihood of retaliation, it's also billions worth of new tariffs on American exporters". The threat to the US economy is less about a question of "if" and more about "when" and 'how bad.' Tariffs on such a broad scope of products make it inconceivable that American consumers will dodge this tax increase as prices of everyday products will be forced to rise.

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The goal is to bring the total amount of Chinese imports up to 40 percent of the total imported from the Asian power, since the US products hit by Beijing's retaliation represent that share of exports, an official told reporters in a conference call.

The administration said the new levies were a response to China's decision to retaliate against the first round of USA tariffs.

China "cannot match fresh US tariffs", Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank said in a report.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said China's retaliatory tariffs were "without any worldwide legal basis or justification".

While Chinese shares regained Wednesday's heavy losses, with the Shanghai Composite index rising 2.2 percent, the yuan fell against the dollar following the central bank's weakest daily fixing in almost a year and Washington's fresh tariff threats.

The additional tariffs could affect as much as $468bn in trade between the two countries, with the possibility of an ever more expansive levies that US President Donald Trump threatened to impose on China.

"Tariffs are taxes, plain and simple".

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said the announcement "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach". Imposing taxes on another $200 billion worth of products will raise the costs of every-day goods for American families, farmers, ranchers, workers, and job creators.

"Unfortunately, China has not changed its behavior - behavior that puts the future of the USA economy at risk".

China's exports have mushroomed since it joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001, making it the world's second-largest economy and prompting widening criticism in recent years from trading partners that it has unfairly used global trade rules to its advantage.

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