US goes tough on trade war, China calls it ‘blackmail’

RSTV Bureau
File photo of US President Donald Trump. PTI/AP

File photo of US President Donald Trump.

Reacting to the threats posed by the US President to slap extra tariffs, China, on Tuesday, said Donald Trump’s move to impose 10 per cent tariffs on USD 200 billion of worth of Chinese goods was “blackmail” and warned it was prepared to take countermeasures if Washington goes through with them.

The US “practice of extreme pressure and blackmail departed from the consensus reached by both sides during multiple negotiations and has also greatly disappointed international society”, China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on its website.

“If the US loses and issues a list, China will have no choice but to take comprehensive measures of a corresponding number and quality and take strong, powerful countermeasures.”

In a retaliatory move for China’s decision to raise tariffs on US$50 billion in US goods, President Trump threatened to impose 10 per cent tariffs on an additional USD 200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The escalating move came amid tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Trump said he was pushing forward with fresh punitive measures over Beijing’s “unacceptable” move to raise its own tariffs.

“Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States,” Trump said in a statement.

The US leader warned that after the new measures are in place — on top of existing 25 per cent tariffs on USD 50 billion in Chinese imports — tariffs on another USD 200 billion of Chinese goods would go forward “if China increases its tariffs yet again.” “The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable,” the president said in explaining his decision.

“I have an excellent relationship with President Xi (Jinping), and we will continue working together on many issues. But the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world.” Trump had already warned last week of “additional tariffs” should Beijing hit back with tit-for-tat duties on American goods.

Then China followed suit, unveiling 25 per cent duties on USD 50 billion in US imports — matching the US rates.

“China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” Trump said in a statement. “Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong.”

(with agency inputs)