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What's at Stake in Trump's Looming Trade War With China

10 March 2018, 01:06 | Myrtle Vega

What's at Stake in Trump's Looming Trade War With China

What's at Stake in Trump's Looming Trade War With China

The Trump administration has launched an investigation into the theft of American intellectual property by China, and the president is expected to place new tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum imports, moves that have prompted talk of a trade war.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said China has no need or intention to replace the United States' worldwide role, and he warned that if the U.S. wages a trade war, it will "backfire".

India on Friday said it was willing to work with China to develop relations based on commonalities, while dealing with differences on the basis of mutual respect and sensitivity to each other's interests.

Trump has complained about low-priced Chinese exports of steel and aluminum, but the latest move was likely to hit Japan and South Korea harder.

The Trump administration could combine the tariffs with restrictions on Chinese investments in the US, which are reviewed for national-security risks by Treasury's Committee on Foreign Investment in the USA, the people said.

"Especially given today's globalisation, choosing a trade war is the wrong remedy. The outcome will only be harmful", Wang said.

The figures also put trade on track to subtract from GDP growth in the first quarter.

Tata Steel Europe told Reuters: "We welcome the announcement of the European Commission that appropriate and swift measures will be taken to safeguard our industry".

China's steel product exports over January and February fell 27 percent to 9.5 million tonnes from a year earlier.

Chinese consumers angered by Trump could easily target one of the most visible US brands.

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China's exports unexpectedly surged at the fastest pace in three years in February, suggesting its economic growth remains resilient even as trade relations with the United States rapidly deteriorate.

However, officials in China say that they don't want a trade war.

Iron ore for delivery to China's Qingdao port slid 3.4 percent to $73.23 a tonne on Thursday, its weakest since February 1, according to Metal Bulletin.

The US trade deficit swelled in January to its highest level in almost a decade as oil prices rose and the world's biggest economy sold fewer aircraft, government data showed Wednesday.

Trump is said to be looking to toughen rules on Chinese purchases of US firms, such as adding curbs in industries where American businesses do not have reciprocal access to acquiring Chinese counterparts.

The dispute has fueled concerns that soybeans, the United States' most valuable export to the world's second largest economy, might be caught up in the trade actions after Beijing launched a probe into imports of USA sorghum, a grain used in animal feed and liquor. We can not allow this to happen as it has for many years!' the president wrote in a second tweet.

Trump upset America's allies last week by vowing to slap tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

If the tariffs go through, the impact on steel producers in China wouldn't be great, since the USA market isn't even among China's top 10 export destinations.

China, which is believed to be the primary target of Trump's looming trade war, warned that trade wars also "harm the initiator".

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