05/14/2019, 09.31
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Beijing responds to Trump's tariffs with more tariffs

by Wang Zhicheng

As of June 1, China will raise tariffs on 60 billion US products, from 5 to 25%. Western stock exchanges are affected. Accepting US demands implies a quasi-revolution in the Chinese economic system. However, both parties have left the door open for new meetings and more dialogue.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Yesterday evening Beijing decided to raise tariffs on US $ 60 billion of imports in response to  the US hike in taxes on 200 billion Chinese imports. Chinese increases will vary from 5 to 25%.

China’s decision, in force as of June, follows the commercial dialogue session between the two powers ended without any agreement May 10 last.

The escalation of the "trade " has made its effects felt on the stock exchanges in the West: The Dow Jones fell by 2.3%; the Nasdaq has lost 3.4%; European stock markets are also down.

Until a few weeks ago it seemed that the two countries had come to an agreement. It seemed that China had accepted many of the US criticisms: rebalancing the China-US trade balance; defense of copyrights; no to the forced transfer of technology; equal treatment between foreign and Chinese companies.

President Donald Trump has accused China of "taking a step back" from the promises made. Liu He, vice-premier and head of delegation in talks said instead that the problem is only "which words to use in the writing" of the agreements.

According to analysts, what the US demands - equal treatment of foreign and Chinese companies - would imply a quasi-revolution in China's economic system and its treatment of state industries. This is why Beijing is holding back the agreement. At the same time, accepting everything the US proposes would weaken the Party’s (and Xi Jinping) image in China.

Both sides, however, left the door open. Trump said that at the next G20, in Japan (June 28-29), he will speak with Xi Jinping; Geng Shuang, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said he hoped the United States and China could "meet halfway".

The new Chinese taxes will mainly hit the agricultural sector. Products such as pork, beef, vegetables, cooking oil, fruits, juices, tea and coffee will be taxed.

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