Highlights of responses to Trump's new tariff threats against China

Updated 2018-04-07 17:44:16 Xinhua

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to slap tariffs on 100 billion U.S. dollars of imports from China, drawing strong opposition from China, and evoking criticism from international business leaders, academics and officials.

The following are some of the responses evoked so far.

-- China will fight "at any cost" and take "comprehensive countermeasures" if the United States continues its unilateral, protectionist practices, a spokesperson with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said Friday.

-- China will immediately fight back fiercely without hesitation if the United States announces a list of additional tariffs on 100 billion U.S. dollars of Chinese products, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang on Friday.

-- Martin Wansleben, chief executive of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that new tariffs and trade barriers not only inflict additional costs on companies and consumers but also hurt innovation. Imposing new tariffs is "an economic dead end," he said.

-- "These tariffs that have targeted China confirm that the Trump administration intends to bypass the WTO's dispute settlement body and unilaterally rely on U.S. law alone regarding the ongoing trade dispute with China. That is a big mistake," said Jon R. Taylor, political science professor at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.

-- Xia Xiang, minister-counsellor for economic and commercial affairs in the Chinese mission to the EU, said that recent developments showed the U.S. side has renegaded on its promises and broken the rules of the WTO.

-- Steven Carpenter, president of AmCham China's Central China Chapter, said he is disappointed in Trump and the U.S. government.

"I believe President Trump should follow the rules of the WTO and, if he believes that China is practicing unfair trade with the U.S. then let the WTO review the charges," he said.

"China has already agreed to follow WTO judgments. President Trump and the U.S. Government should follow China's lead and agree to accept the authority of the WTO judgments as well."

Trump's actions will not help generate any goodwill for American companies trying to do business in China, he added.

-- "If there really was a major trade war between the U.S. and China, that would have an aggregate effect on global economic growth," James Brander, trade expert at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver said. "It would certainly be bad for both China and the United States. But I just don't see that happening."

-- Agricultural leaders in the U.S. state of Iowa warned on Friday that rashly imposed tariffs on Chinese products will make American farmers the first casualties.

"We're in limbo. This is a very bad time for agriculture," Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill told Iowa Public Television.

-- "This is what a trade war looks like, and what we have warned against from the start," said Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation, in a statement on Thursday.

"We are on a dangerous downward spiral and American families will be on the losing end," he added.

Shay also said in the statement that these tit-for-tat trade actions could spell disaster for the U.S. economy and make it harder for Americans across the country to afford everyday products and basic necessities.

-- The American Soybean Association also denounced the Trump administration's tariff plans, saying that it was extremely frustrated about the potential trade war with China, the largest customer of U.S. soybeans.

The association has called on the White House to withdraw the tariffs that had led to the retaliation.

-- Mark Zandi, chief economist with the Moody's Analytics, estimated that the Trump administration's recent tariff plans would reduce U.S. economic growth by 0.1 to 0.2 percentage point over the next 12 months.

If tensions escalate, the drag on the U.S. growth will grow, Zandi warned.

-- Canadian international business expert Ian Lee called the trade tensions between the United States and China more than bilateral -- part of a broader issue involving Trump challenging the international trading system.

-- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called China a pillar of the multilateral system, said trade wars are always bad for those involved and for the international economy as a whole. "We need to have international cooperation," he emphasized.

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