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China will take counteractions if US keeps provoking trade war: expert

(People's Daily Online)    17:40, March 23, 2018

Though China does not want a trade war, it will firmly confront the challenge if the US keeps provoking one, said Bai Ming, deputy director of China’s Ministry of Commerce’s International Market Research Institute in an interview with ThePaper.cn.

Earlier on Thursday, US President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of imports from China and propose restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States. It is the latest unilateral move by the US that would pose a threat to global trade.

The memorandum is based on a so-called Section 301 investigation into alleged Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices, launched by the Trump administration in August 2017.

The tariffs will target 100 imported Chinese goods in as many as 100 categories, hitting everything from shoes and clothing to consumer electronics.

“We want no trade war with anyone, but if our hands are forced, we will not quail nor recoil from it,” said Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Wednesday.

According to Bai, China made important initial progress in carrying out the 100-day action plan with the US during 2017, and companies from both countries signed deals worth more than $250 billion dollars during Trump's state visit to China. These are practical and sincere actions taken by China, he added.

“If the US is not seeing our good intentions and on the other hand making further provocations, we will definitely fight back, with necessary countermeasures,” Bai noted.

The tariffs are placed under the banner of China’s “unfair practices”, but what lies under the tariffs is a protectionist approach, the deputy director explained.

Associate researcher Su Qingyi of the Institute of World Economy and Politics under Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told ThePaper.cn that the tariff will definitely bring about negative impacts on Chinese export industry.

But it will not be able to narrow the trade balance between China and the US in a way that will be detrimental to China, Su added, saying that in such a case more Chinese enterprises may choose to shift their markets to other countries.

Experts analyzed that China would probably take counteractions by imposing high tariffs on the US products that are exported in high volumes to China, for example, soybeans, automobiles and planes.

The range is smaller than that of the US, but it centers on agriculture, an industry that has a big influence on the US politics, said Alec Philips, chief US political economist for Goldman Sachs Research.

The US has the demand for Chinese imports, but it doesn’t manufacture these products, said Cao Dewang, founder and head of the world's top auto glass manufacturer Fuyao Glass, adding that it is the source of the trade balance between the two countries.

He believes that the increase in tariffs is not a solution as long as there’s demand in the US. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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