China has accused the United States of trade bullying, saying that Donald Trump is responsible for initiating the “largest trade war in economic history,” reports CNBC.
Donald Trump’s administration lived up to its trade promises by levying 25 percent tariffs on $34 million worth of Chinese goods at midnight Washington time, launching a full-blown trade war with the second-largest world economy. The Chinese government responded in kind soon after the announcement, levying the exact same tariff on U.S. goods worth the same amount.
A spokesman of China’s Ministry of Commerce said that it had no intention of levying the tariffs on U.S. goods, but Trump’s administration left the largest Asian economy with no choice.
“This act is typical trade bullying. It seriously jeopardizes the global industrial chain… hinders the pace of global economic recovery, triggers global market turmoil and will affect more innocent multinational companies, general companies and consumers.”
The exact scale of the tariffs imposed by China is still not exactly clear, but the Chinese government said that it would take up the matter with the World Trade Organization on Friday, where it would accuse the United States of breaking international trade agreements.
As of now, it is believed that American-manufactured pork, soybeans, and electric vehicles will be the worst hit in the burgeoning trade war.
While the looming trade war is not exactly surprising, it could pose a host of problems for the world’s largest economy. U.S. was on the verge of becoming China’s biggest supplier of soybeans, but now it appears untenable.
It all started in April when Donald Trump accused China of “unfair” trade practices, saying the Asian country had built a large trade surplus by expropriating American technology. Trump has pressed on Congress to tighten laws so that Chinese investment in American technology is minimized.
Tariffs on at least $16 billion worth of Chinese goods is expected soon, while some estimates point out that the U.S. could impose tariffs on up to $500 billion in the coming years. In that case, critics warn, the U.S. can brace itself for full retaliation from Chinese trade partners across the globe.
But Trump appears unmoved by the criticism, instead reveling in his nativist rhetoric which seeks to derail imports coming into the country. He had maintained that U.S. manufacturing dominance had to be reinstated during his campaign rallies, and his trade war with China seems to be a step in that direction.
However, it could push the world on the brink of a major economic catastrophe with industrial chains set to suffer in a way that has not been experienced for many decades.