Beijing said Wednesday it was “shocked” by the Trump administration’s decision to eventually impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese products.
“The behavior of the U.S. is hurting China, hurting the world, and hurting itself,” the Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday after the White House announced plans to hit Chinese exports with hundreds of billions of dollars in additional punitive tariffs.
”The US behavior is a typical trade bullying,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying explained, adding, “China will take the necessary countermeasures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.”
Beijing attempted to present itself as a defender of the rules-based international order and free trade. “This is a battle between unilateralism and multilateralism, protectionism and free trade, power and rules,” Hua said, “China will work with the international community to stand on the right side of history and jointly safeguard the multilateral trading system and rules.”
The U.S. asserts that China need only turn away from its unfair trading practices and deal with the U.S. fairly.
“For over a year, the Trump administration has patiently urged China to stop its unfair practices, open its market, and engage in true market competition,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Tuesday, “Rather than address our legitimate concerns, China has begun to retaliate against U.S. products … There is no justification for such action.”
China threatened to retaliate against the proposed U.S. trade measures.
The cost of the tariffs on the table exceed the total value of Chinese imports of American products, limiting Beijing’s ability to respond with reciprocal tariffs. Instead, China will be forced to turn to non-tariff measures, expanding the trade war into new areas, such as tourism, business, or customs.
The Trump administration is confident that China has more to lose in a trade war.
“China has more to lose. They have a choice to make,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said recently. “The numbers speak for themselves. Do the math.”
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