US$200 billion in Chinese goods officially 'Tariffed!'

Beijing may also decline to participate in proposed trade talks with Washington later this month if the Trump administration goes ahead with the additional tariffs the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. — AFP pic

"Ongoing uncertainty about trade policy had led to volatility in the prices of some commodities", the board's minutes said.

This is the inherent, objective, logic of the latest trade war measures.

The latest round of imports will face 10 percent tariffs through the end of the year, and then the rate will jump to 25 percent.

But there is little prospect of such an outcome because, while the United States is demanding that the trade deficit with China be reduced, the conflict does not merely centre on that issue. But it is unclear whether Beijing will agree to come to Washington with the new tariffs set to go into effect.

If China then slaps tariffs on another $60 billion in U.S. goods, this will bring total USA exports subject to Beijing's retaliation to $110 billion, at 2017 sales levels. Then last month, the escalating trade war moved up a gear when the United States brought in a 25% tax on a second wave of goods worth $16bn.

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.

The summary, released on Tuesday morning, quoted Zhong as saying "entrepreneurs are very anxious about the possible consequences of trade conflicts in the world's two largest economies, which we do not want to see". Rather, the United States unilaterally abrogated the treaty in order to strengthen the strategic position of the USA in the Middle East by countering the influence of Iran, and because European corporations stood to benefit from the opening up of new economic opportunities in that country at the expense of their U.S. rivals. Economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have warned that a full-fledged trade war, especially one that lasts more than a year, would slow the USA economy.

Bundles of aluminum ingots sit stacked at a China National Materials Storage and Transportation Corp. stockyard in Wuxi, China. There have been periodic reports that the Trump administration was on the verge of resuming talks with Beijing.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 92.55 points, or 0.35 percent, to 26,062.12.

The new round of tariffs, which was widely expected, dims the last remaining hope that China's United States trade point man, Vice-Premier Liu He, will be making a trip to Washington any time soon.

Parker said New Zealand was dependent on "rules-based trade agreements" and rising protectionism around the world was not in the country's interests.

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Trump administration remains open to negotiations with China, but no details on talks available.

Earlier in the day the President tweeted: "Tariffs have put the U.S. in a very strong bargaining position, with Billions of Dollars, and Jobs, flowing into our Country - and yet cost increases have thus far been nearly unnoticeable".

FILE PHOTO: A worker places U.S. and China flags near the Forbidden City ahead of a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to Beijing, in Beijing, China November 8, 2017.

China is expected to respond with more tariffs.

United States industries have generally opposed tariffs, arguing they increase prices for consumers and could hurt economic growth.

"That's why we continue to urge everybody, whether they are those who engage in market distorting subsidies, or whether they are those who might talk about or pursue multi-lateral tariff actions, to think carefully about the consequences of doing so".

Harley-Davidson will have to bump up the Chinese price of its iconic motorbikes at least 20 percent, a store representative in Beijing said.

He said "no-one benefits from trade disputes or a global trade war".

If the administration pursues what it calls "phase three" of the tariff strategy, it would raise the total value of affected Chinese goods to $517 billion - covering almost everything China sells the United States. Business leaders are warning the high-stakes strategy could upend their supply chains and raise costs, as economists worry Trump's tactics could derail the broadest global upswing in years. This drive does not arise from the heads of the capitalist politicians-their actions are only the translation into politics of the objective logic and irresolvable contradictions of the capitalist system over which they preside.

Hasn't the USA already imposed tariffs? "Tariffs are taxes, plain and simple". But, the official said, they will exclude some consumer electronics such as smart watches and Bluetooth devices as well as health and safety products such as high chairs, bicycle helmets, child auto seats and playpens.

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