Stocks mount huge rebound as Trump, China tariff threat eases

Javier Stokes
April 5, 2018

The Chinese Customs Tariff Commission of the central cabinet, in a retaliatory measure, chose to impose additional tariff of 25 per cent on 106 products under 14 categories worth United States dollars 50 billion, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

China on Wednesday countered US plans to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, retaliating with a list of similar duties on key American imports including autos.

March 23: U.S. tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum from certain countries takes effect.

The Commerce Ministry also said it had opened a dispute against the the World Trade Organization.

"What we're talking about on both sides is a fraction of 1 percent of both economies", he said. "Our action is restrained".

China's targeting of US farm states and the nation's agriculture business is cause for concern, says William Rodger, director of policy communications for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the national voice of USA agriculture producers.

"We are forced to bring forward the product list, and there are grounds for the specific items and their order on the list", Zhu said. News of retaliatory tariffs from China on $3 billion worth of US goods contributed to sharp sell-off on Wall Street Monday. An outside spokeswoman for GAC declined to comment on the proposed tariffs. Supporters and opponents began weighing in as soon as the list was released. And many have argued that Washington needed to respond aggressively.

"As the Chinese saying goes, it is only polite to reciprocate", China's Washington embassy said.

China, the world's biggest steel exporter, calls the tariffs "a serious attack" on worldwide trade and says it will take "firm action" if Chinese businesses suffer losses as a result.

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On Monday, China imposed extra tariffs on imports of American goods including wine, in response to US duties on steel and aluminum imports.

Investors may have also been comforted by Larry Kudlow, head of the National Economic Council, who said on Wednesday that the Trump administration is not angling for a trade war. But that did little to mollify critics.

Industries including aerospace, information and communications technology, robotics and machinery were among those targeted by the US trade representative on Tuesday.

The US is the second-biggest soya bean supplier to China, after Brazil.

USA shares rose on Tuesday on the view that President Donald Trump's Twitter attacks on retailer Amazon would not translate into actual policy. The move came in response to U.S. levies on Chinese goods. "Otherwise, nothing will change and American jobs will continue to suffer at the hands of Beijing's practices".

Unlike Washington's list, which was filled with many obscure industrial items, China's list strikes at signature U.S. exports, including soybeans, frozen beef, cotton and other key agricultural commodities produced in states from Iowa to Texas that voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. They'll be eager to pick up any lost business, but they won't be able to completely replace USA trade.

American companies have long chafed under Chinese regulations that require them to operate through local partners and share technology with potential competitors in exchange for market access.

The tit-for-tat measures raise concerns of a full-blown trade war and the news of Chinese retaliation has already shaken markets. The 25 percent tariffs come on top of any existing levies. "We don't have futures and forwards markets that are exchange traded", says Hsu, "so it's very hard to control price volatility or hedge without having some of the more sophisticated tools that other crops and commodities have". -China Business Council, warned that any efforts by Trump to get us companies to move production back home through tariffs could backfire, much as when President Barack Obama put tariffs on Chinese tyres only to see tyre imports from Indonesia and Taiwan surge. Kent Bacus, director of global trade and market access for the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn., said although unsettling, the group wasn't surprised to see beef as a target for retaliation, as it is an inevitable outcome of any trade war.

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