06/18/2018, 16.48
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China responds to US with US$ 50 billion in duties

Washington wants to extend tariffs to 284 more Chinese product types. Beijing is set to respond with counter duties worth USD 50 billion. Google inks deal to invest US$ 550 million in Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The trade war between China and the United States continues.

Last Friday the Trump administration drew up a second list of 284 Chinese product types on which to impose import levies worth US$ 16 billion, which will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process.

In April the administration proposed a list of more than 1,300 Chinese product types that could be subject to new import tariffs. But this was whittled down to 818 following a review process, worth USD 34 billion in additional duty starting 6 July.

The two lists will cover mostly high-tech products from industries like aviation, advanced rail systems, new energy vehicles and other high-tech areas like communications and robotics.

Some products, such as televisions and their components, mobile phones, pharmaceuticals and price-sensitive products were taken off the list.

Reacting to the US move, China’s Commerce Ministry said tariffs on about US$ 34 billion of imports from the US will start 6 July, covering 545 product lines, including agricultural products, automobiles and seafood goods.

An additional US$ 16 billion in tariffs on of US product lines, including chemicals, medical equipment and energy products, will be announced at a later date.

These new duties will be applied only if the United States imposes duties on the second list of Chinese product types.

US duties focus on industrial goods that contribute to or benefit from Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” industrial policy. These include industries such as aerospace, information and communications technology, robotics, industrial machinery, new materials, and automobiles.

Chinese companies in the list receive government funding, tax breaks, low-interest loans and other state subsidies. According to Washington this represents unfair competition.

Meanwhile, whilst the trade war escalates, some US high-tech companies are looking for business deals in Asia.

Internet giant Google announced plans to invest US$ 550 million in Chinese e-commerce powerhouse JD.com, in an effort to increase its presence in fast-growing Asian markets and battle rivals, including Amazon.com.

The new partnership will include the promotion of JD.com products on Google’s shopping service. This could help the latter expand beyond its base in China and Southeast Asia and establish a meaningful presence in US and European markets.

Google officials said the deal would not involve any major new Google initiatives in the People’s Republic, where the company’s main services are blocked over its refusal to censor search results in line with local laws.

For JD.com, the agreement with Google is first step towards a new global alliance to compete with Chinese e-commerce arch-rival Alibaba Group Holding.

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