Washington/Beijing, March 23: US President Dold Trump has signed an order imposing tariffs worth $60 billion in Chinese imports in his strongest trade action against any country. Beijing threatened Washington with higher tariffs worth $3 billion for imported US products. Fincial markets plunged on fears of a potential trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Trump declared that Chi was responsible for thousands of lost American jobs and billions in lost revenues. The White House said on Thursday it was taking action in retaliation for Chi’s use of pressure and intimidation to obtain American technology and trade secrets. The measures included a significant change in Trump’s looming steel and aluminium tariffs that would aim them primarily at Chi, the Washington Post reported.
After Trump’s announcement, Chi’s Commerce Ministry said it was proposing tariffs on 128 US products including pork, wine and seamless steel tubes. It will include an additiol 15 per cent tariff on products including fruit, nuts, wines and seamless steel tubes and an additiol 25 per cent tariff on pork and recycled aluminium products. But it also urged the Trump administration to resolve differences through dialogue to “avoid damage to the broader picture of Chinese-US cooperation”. In addition to the tariffs, the US also plans to impose new investment restrictions, take action against Chi at the World Trade Organisation while the Treasury Department also will propose additiol measures.
Trump said he respected his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping but Washington “would no longer tolerate running a trade deficit of nearly $400 billion with Chi”, its second-largest trading partner, after the EU. The US administration’s increasing focus on punishing Chi was evident in its decision to exempt allies like the EU, South Korea, Brazil, Cada and Mexico from what were supposed to be worldwide tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. The levies, which go into effect on Friday, will largely hit Chi.
Stock markets were hit by fears that Trump’s tariff plan could trigger a trade war. Japan’s Nikkei share index fell 4.5 per cent and in the US the Dow Jones sank 2.9 per cent. Chi’s Shanghai Composite Index closed down 3.4 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended 2.5 per cent lower.(IANS)