Global shares recoil as China retaliates in U.S. trade war

U.S. China trade tariffs

The Chinese government announces yet another set of retaliatory tariffs that almost mirror the Trump administration's proposal a day earlier - 25% on a range of products from the U.S., worth approximately $50 billion.

The items on the list, which includes mostly high-tech industrial, medical, aerospace, communication and transportation products, would face a 25% tariff.

Many consumer electronics products such as cellphones made by Apple Inc and laptops made by Dell were excluded from the United States list, as were footwear and clothing, drawing a sigh of relief from retailers who had feared higher costs for American consumers.

China, the world's biggest steel exporter, calls the tariffs "a serious attack" on worldwide trade and says it will take "firm action" if Chinese businesses suffer losses as a result. Investors bought consumer products companies and other stocks that pay large dividends.

General Motors Co (GM.N), which imports the Buick Envision crossover from China, said on Wednesday it is "too early" to say how the Trump administration's proposed tariffs on Chinese-built vehicles will impact its future production plans for that vehicle.

"China's going to be compelled to lash back", warned Philip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and an economic adviser to President George W. Bush.

China's targeting of USA farm states and the nation's agriculture business is cause for concern, says William Rodger, director of policy communications for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the national voice of US agriculture producers.

He accused the Communist nation of stealing USA intellectual property and applying it to their own technology, before shipping it back to America and undercutting home-grown suppliers.

Chinese espionage activity is posing a challenge for the Trump administration as it seeks to crack down on China for allegedly unfair trade practices, including persistent cyber intrusions targeting USA businesses.

"If someone wants a trade war, we will fight to the end".

As trade tensions rise between the United States and China, a small but vocal online community is calling for a boycott of USA products, fanning fears that American brands could see a backlash similar to that faced by South Korea past year.

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Boeing, which delivered one-fourth of all its planes to China past year, fell as much as 5.7 percent early on and finished with a loss of $3.38, or 1 percent, at $327.44.

Trump has argued that the Chinese government forces USA companies to surrender proprietary technology to gain access to the Chinese market, resulting in the theft of trade secrets.

Even some technology groups that are contending directly with Chinese competition expressed misgivings.

"We are glad to see that President Trump has eased restrictions on exports of energy products, crude oil and liquefied natural gas to China after taking office, which used to be banned", Wang said, pointing out that such measures will help tackle the trade imbalance. The move came in response to USA levies on Chinese goods.

In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Washington denied knowledge of any recent cyber espionage activity.

American businesses have long complained about being forced to partner with Chinese firms and share their technology as a price of doing business in the fast-growing Chinese market.

Copper prices retreated Wednesday as investors reacted to the potential fallout of an escalating trade conflict between the US and China.

China will lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organisation. With the arrival in 1995 of the Geneva-based World Trade Organization, Section 301 largely faded from use. This could cut costs for USA meat companies. Trump has also ordered his treasury secretary to weigh new limits on Chinese investment in the United States. Boeing shares are down 2.7 percent and Caterpillar is down 2 percent.

"In the event of all-out trade war, both may lose all sense of reason, but I do hope it will never happen".

The tariffs can make the agricultural equipment and inputs that farmers rely on, more expensive.

China ran a $375 billion goods trade surplus with the United States in 2017, a figure that Trump has demanded be cut by $100 billion.

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