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Is The U.S.-China Trade Conflict Finally Reaching Its Peak?

18 September 2018

President Trump warned that if China takes retaliatory action against United States farmers or industries "we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports".

At a discussion hosted by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, six former chief USA trade negotiators decried the protectionist trade policies the Trump administration is pursuing and warned of the catastrophic effect they could have on the U.S. position in the global economic order. China's economy is slowing, with consumers holding back and infrastructure spending dropping sharply.

American officials said Monday they were conscious of the need for American businesses to find alternate suppliers before the tariffs hit.

Oil prices rebounded from earlier losses as supply concerns outweighed assurances from Washington that Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States can raise output fast enough to offset falling supplies from Iran and elsewhere.

An afternoon recap of the day's most important business news, delivered weekdays.

European share markets followed Asian counterparts lower on Monday as investors took fright at news Washington was set to announce a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods.

Last week, Beijing said it welcomed overtures from U.S. officials offering to re-start trade talks, but press reports indicate China would call off any meetings if the new punitive duties take effect.

While economists generally estimate that the overall economic impact of the tariffs will be a fraction of a percentage point, they caution that the effects are hard to predict.

Once the new round of tariffs takes effect on Sept 24, punitive duties will be in place on roughly half of the products the United States buys from China - its largest source of imported merchandise.

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Jim O'Sullivan, chief economist for High-Frequency Economics, said financial markets would likely adopt a "could have been worse" reaction to the latest tariffs. But he lowered the proposed duty rates back to 10 percent after announcing last month that they should be increased to 25 percent.

China has threatened to retaliate and pull out of negotiations if that happens.

The decision comes despite a Treasury invitation earlier this week to senior Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Liu He, for more talks to try to resolve trade differences between the world's two largest economies.

Such action would mean almost half of all Chinese imports into the United States would be subjected to punitive duties.

National Economic Director Larry Kudlow said that he doesn't believe Republicans' second round of tax cuts will pass before the midterm elections in November.

"But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices", including theft and force transfer of technology.

China is expected to further retaliate against the United States, and top officials have warned that could include penalizing U.S. companies that rely on Chinese components for phones, cars, televisions, and other products. He was expected to level tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese imports, and China has said it would retaliate.

Adding in the $200 billion list and another $267 billion of Chinese goods, total imports from China facing tariffs would exceed the $505 billion in goods that the United States imported from China previous year.

"For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices, and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies".

Is The U.S.-China Trade Conflict Finally Reaching Its Peak?