Chinese state media yesterday said that the government’s retaliatory tariffs on US$60 billion of US goods showed rational restraint and accused the US of blackmail.
Late on Friday, the Chinese Ministry of Finance unveiled new sets of additional tariffs on 5,207 goods imported from the US, with the extra levies ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent on a total value of goods less than half of that proposed by the administration of US President Donald Trump.
The response followed the Trump administration’s proposal of a 25 percent tariff on US$200 billion of Chinese imports.
“China’s countermeasures are rational,” the Global Times, a tabloid run by the state-run People’s Daily, said in a commentary.
“China will not rush to compete with US numbers,” the tabloid said, echoing comments made by state TV broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).
The US and China implemented tariffs on US$34 billion of each others’ goods last month.
Washington is expected to soon implement tariffs on an additional US$16 billion of Chinese goods, which China has already said it would match immediately.
“The White House’s extreme pressure and blackmail are already clear to the international community,” a CCTV commentary said. “Such methods of extreme blackmail will not bear fruit against China.”
Beijing has now either imposed or proposed tariffs on US$110 billion of US goods, representing the vast majority of China’s annual imports of US products.
Last year, China imported about US$130 billion in goods from the US.
However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has remained staunch on Washington’s push for fairer trading conditions with China.
“President Trump inherited an unfair trade regime where American workers and American companies were not treated reciprocally or fairly by the Chinese, and the efforts of the Trump administration are to right that, to correct that,” Pompeo told reporters on the sidelines of a regional forum in Singapore.
Pompeo added that he had discussed trade issues with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) on Friday.
Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Saifuddin Abdullah said that he met Pompeo in Singapore and that his message was clear.
“My objective was quite straightforward: I think I need to inform him that we are very concerned,” Abdullah said.
Countries like Malaysia form an integral part of Chinese exporters’ supply chains and analysts have warned that a trade war could knock billions of dollars off their economic growth in the coming years.
“China has taken a necessary and legitimate response, based on the interests of the Chinese people and to protect the rules-based international trade system under the WTO,” Wang said on the sidelines of the forum yesterday.
Asked about US National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow saying that China’s latest measures were “weak,” Wang said: “Does he want China to take an even stronger response?”
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