China trade battle kicks off; markets take it in stride

Soybean plants grow in a field near Tiskilwa Illinois

Why Soybeans Are at the Heart of the U.S.

Washington imposed tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports on Friday and Beijing has said it will retaliate with punitive measures on US products worth a similar amount, including soybeans, pork and cotton.

Disputes between the United States and its trading partners have roiled financial markets ranging from stocks to currencies to commodities for months.

"After the United States unfairly raised tariffs against China, China immediately put into effect raised tariffs on some USA goods", foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily media briefing on Friday afternoon. "These tariffs could mean the difference between a profit and a loss for an entire year's worth of work out in the field, and that's only in the near term", Bible said.

European stocks have traded in a narrow range this week in anticipation of US tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports set to go into effect on Friday.

"The US has said that it is prepared to put traffis on hundreds of billions of dollars of more goods and China has said it will match that", he added.

But although the S&P 500 on some days has been hit hard by signs of an escalating trade conflict, the index rose 0.6 percent on Friday after the United States and China enacted their tariffs. The Shanghai Composite index fell 1.1 per cent, after reaching more than a two-year low this week, while USA indices are expected to follow suit when they open later today.

Al Jazeera's Rob McBride, reporting from Beijing, said that while the $34bn in goods "doesn't equate to a huge amount given the size of the world's biggest economies, it is more the gesture and what is might lead to".

President Trump indicated to reporters on Thursday that he will bump it up to tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in two weeks if Beijing continues with tit-for-tat measures.

The Trump administration sought to limit the impact of the tariffs on USA households by targeting Chinese industrial goods, not consumer products, for the first round of tariffs.

"If the United States starts imposing additional tariffs, it will actually be charging taxes on firms both in China and around the world, as well as American companies", Feng, said at a news conference in China.

Chinese officials reject accusations of theft and say no foreign company is obligated to share technology.

Washington has strained relations with potential allies in its dispute with Beijing by raising import duties on steel, aluminum and autos from Europe, Canada, Mexico and Japan. US shipments have almost ground to a halt since the 25 percent tariffs implemented on April 2.

China has threatened to respond with tariffs on hundreds of US goods, including top exports such as soybeans, sorghum and cotton, threatening USA farmers in states that backed Trump in the 2016 US election, such as Texas and Iowa.

China's General Administration of Customs did not comment on the delays and said the agency will implement the tariffs as announced on Thursday, Reuters said.

"Its unruliness looks set to have a profoundly damaging impact on the global economic landscape in the coming decades, unless countries stand together to oppose it".

There was no evidence of any last-minute negotiations between US and Chinese officials, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

The bank estimates that every $US100b of imports affected by the tariffs represents about 0.5 percent of global trade and 0.1 percent of global GDP.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China appealed to both sides to negotiate.

"We want more trade, more business, more investment to be done".

If enacted, the import duty would make USA oil less competitive than other crudes, likely causing a decline in Chinese purchases and forcing US oil firms to find other buyers.



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