China says it's ready to retaliate on latest USA tariff threat


China warned the USA against "blackmailing and pressuring" it over trade as the Trump administration mulls trying to force officials back to the negotiating table through threats of even higher tariffs.

United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer had said on Wednesday that he had secured the green signal from Trump to consider raising the tariffs from the earlier planned 10% to 25% under an ongoing Section 301 targeting Chinese goods on grounds of alleged theft and forced transfer of technologies from U.S. companies.

The Trump administration plans to propose slapping a 25-percent tariff on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods after initially setting them at 10 percent, in a bid to pressure Beijing into making trade concessions, a source familiar with the plan said on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump requested the US Trade Representative explore the option to hit $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to the US with a 25% tariff.

Trump's ongoing trade dispute with China has put him at odds with members of his own party and the USA business community, who have expressed outrage about the protectionist bent of his administration's trade policies, and warned of negative consequences for the United States economy.

The official called for talks that will be based on "equality and respect as well as established rules and credibility" to resolve the disputes over trade.

China's vice-trade minister Wang Shouwen said last month in Geneva that "for any talks to be successful, no party should point a gun at the other party". The comment period was set to take place later this month, but will now be extended into September, officials said.

Trump set his sights on China during the 2016 presidential campaign and has followed through during his presidency with a protectionist strategy that he says is aimed at strengthening USA companies and boosting jobs at home.

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That fell apart shortly after it was announced by US officials and amid acrimony in the negotiating team sent to Beijing due to disagreements over the concessions that would be made to China. The yuan fell against a trade-weighted basket of currencies to a level that's near the lowest on record, suggesting policy makers are allowing further weakness.

Tu Xinquan, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said that the U.S. had been very critical of China's state-supported economic growth model and wanted to get rid of it because it knew it gave Beijing an advantage.

"China is the Cambodian people's closest, most reliable friend", he said, according to the Chinese statement.

"China and the US have had several rounds of consultations and reached important consensus, but regrettably the USA did not fulfill its obligations", Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday.

On July 10, Washington unveiled a list of another US$200 billion in Chinese goods, from areas as varied as electrical machinery, leather goods and seafood, that would be hit with 10 per cent import duties. The implementation could be delayed for weeks as the administration works out the details of which products it will target. Beijing retaliated with matching tariffs on the same amount of USA exports to China.

FILE PHOTO: Shipping containers, including one labelled "China Shipping", are stacked at the Paul W. Conley Container Terminal in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., May 9, 2018. "Tariffs are an unacceptable gamble with the US economy and the stakes continue to rise with no end in sight". That case concluded China was stealing American technology and tariffs were needed to offset the damage.

- Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Beijing has warned of an immediate mirror response.