Won't hesitate to fight back if U.S. escalates trade war, warns China

14 April, 2018, 20:14 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • The German share price index DAX board is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

ANALYSTS' VIEWPOINT: In his global debut as China's new central bank governor, Yi "has sent a clear signal today. that China is serious about its commitment to opening up the economy and carrying out reforms in the financial markets", Betty Wang and David Qu of ANZ Research said in a commentary. "The Chinese market has great leeway, strong growth impetus and resilience", said Wang Changlin, vice president of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research of the National Development and Reform Commission. The saying, meant to celebrate China's unique blend of socialism and a market-driven economy, contained another message: that China would continue to play by its own rules.

China President Xi Jinping on Tuesday vowed to open China's economy further and lower import duties on goods such as cars, which had boosted hopes for a compromise.

But US investors and businesses have been hearing most of these promises for at least the past two years.

Still, while no hard timeline has been set by either Washington or Beijing for the actual imposition of tariffs, analysts said China's exporters may already be adapting their strategies as punitive trade measures loom. "Xi delivered a masterful, carefully framed, conciliatory response to Trump", Collier said.

"Very thankful for President Xi of China's kind words on tarrifs [sic] and automobile barriers... also, his enlightenment on intellectual property and technology transfers", Trump said on Twitter. On Tuesday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned U.S. against "arrogance", issuing a veiled warning to Trump with a promise to lower levies. The Trump administration has made a decision to expand sanctions on China for allegedly infringing intellectual property rights.

The U.S. demands came after Beijing offered to narrow the trade deficit by $50 billion, including by importing more liquefied natural gas, agricultural products, semiconductors and luxury goods, according to the person. Still, the White House also admonished China to take concrete action on U.S. complaints about unfair trade practices.

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China imported 1.22 million vehicles past year, or about 4.2 percent of the country's total sales of about 28.9 million automobiles. In that speech he framed China as the world's new champion of free trade in an implicit rebuke to Trump.

While the speech offered little new policy and made no mention of Trump, Xi affirmed or expanded on proposals to increase imports, lower foreign-ownership limits on manufacturing and expand protection to intellectual property-all issues central to the USA president's trade complaints.

China imported 32.85 million metric tons of soybeans from the United States, accounting for more than one-third of China's total soybean imports. But following Trump's tweet the White House made clear it wants to see changes enacted in China.

Xi's comments, while offering little, may still be enough to tamp down escalating rhetoric. The People's Bank of China said on Wednesday that previously announced moves to put foreign companies on an equal footing with domestic rivals in the financial services sector would be implemented by the end of the year.

"The industries targeted by the proposed US tariff increases are not labor intensive, which means that export declines in these sectors will not cause large-scale layoffs", said Wang.

"I think it's so clearly in the interest of both countries that we have a constructive trading relationship and that we have substantive talks to redress these issues".

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