SA files submission for exclusion in USA steel and aluminium imports duties

Trump on Thursday instructed his officials to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods after the USA concluded China violates the intellectual property of American companies.

Stock markets fell sharply on Trump's announcement, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling almost 3 per cent.

Trump's tariffs, which act as a tax on imports, will apply to goods worth about $50 billion annually and hit industries from aerospace to pharmaceuticals.

Trump gave the Treasury Department 60 days to develop investment restrictions aimed at preventing Chinese-controlled companies and funds from acquiring USA firms with sensitive technologies.

One of the most recent high profile examples of theft of USA intellectual property happened earlier this year.

Trump said it was time to strike back against the "theft" of American intellectual property.

Trade war will harm consumer interest and financial market interests, she said, pointing out the big plunge in the stock market, which said is a "big vote of no confidence in U.S. actions".

Xi's point men on the relationship at a moment when their experience may be a poor guide to Washington, just as two decades of bipartisan American support for deeper trade with China is crumbling in favour of a more protectionist, "America First" approach.

The Chinese embassy in Washington said in a statement: "If a trade war were initiated by the US, China would fight to the end to defend its own legitimate interests with all necessary measures".

"Exports are extremely important to the Chinese economy, but have been trending less so in recent years and the USA has been shrinking as a share of China's export market", she said.

Saying it would be the "first of many" trade actions, Trump said the measure was aimed at punishing Beijing over the alleged theft of U.S. technology and Chinese pressure on American companies to hand it over.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are backing President Trump's decision to impose tariffs on China as Beijing threatens to retaliate.

China is America's biggest foreign creditor.

Before signing the measure, Trump lamented the US' multi-hundred billion dollar trade deficit with China and said the action would be "the first of many".

The Commerce Ministry said higher duties on pork, apples, steel pipe and other goods would offset Chinese losses caused by Trump's tariff increases on steel and aluminum imports. He said Trump and Xi agreed previous year on a 100-day agenda of trade-liberalization measures but Beijing failed to act on about half of them. There was no explanation of the difference between that figure and Trump's $60 billion.

This poses "a clear risk that the Trump trade war will disrupt the global trade engine and derail the ongoing global economic recovery", he said.

Since he took over power, Trump has been pressuring China to step-up measures to reduce trade deficit and expand U.S. exports and investments.

On China's second board in the city of Shenzhen, Guangdong Wens Foodstuff Group, one of the country's largest pig breeders, advanced 3.66 per cent to 21.54 yuan.

Trump´s exemption landed just before a Friday deadline, and came after eleventh hour talks in Washington between Malmstrom and top United States officials.

Beijing will impose the 15% reciprocal levy if China and the US fail to reach an agreement on the trade actions within a set period of time. "But if it's not a bluff, we're going to see a trade war".

The question is whether the gambit will lead to a healthy rebalancing of the world's two biggest economies, or trigger a punishing trade conflict that sideswipes the broadest worldwide expansion in years.

While far from ideal, organizations such as the WTO have limited the scope of trade wars since the chaos of the 1930s.

The move on tariffs is only the latest case of Trump undermining the WTO.

He suggested that Taiwanese companies wait at least 45 days until details of the tariff plan are released before assessing its impact and planning their next move.

  • Leroy Wright