Trump Confirms $34B Tariffs on China, Possible $516B More

China EU USA trade war alliance Donald Trump President Xi

In a further move to escalate tensions between the world's two largest economies, U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington could ultimately raise tariffs on more than $500 billion in Chinese products - almost the total value of U.S. imports from the country previous year. On Thursday, he suggested the possibility of tariffs on nearly $500 billion more of Chinese goods. The U.S. exported 30 percent of its overall soybean production to China previous year.

USA officials accuse China of building its emerging industrial dominance by stealing the "crown jewels" of American technological know-how through cyber-theft, forced transfers of intellectual property and state-sponsored corporate acquisitions. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has issued a statement calling the USA move "typical trade bullying" and held that "in order to defend the core interests of the country and the interests of the people, we are forced to retaliate", according to The Washington Post.

A ministry statement said, "the Chinese side promised not to fire the first shot, but to defend the core interests of the country and people, it is forced to make a necessary counterattack".

The U.S. additional tariffs of 25 percent on US$34 billion worth of Chinese imports took effect Friday. Soybeans to be loaded in August at the nation's Paranagua port fetched $2.21 a bushel more than Chicago futures as of Friday, the widest gap since data starts in 2014.

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"For companies with supply exposure to tariffs, they will move sourcing country of origin if they can; if they can't, they'll pass on as much of the tariff cost as they can, or see a cut in margins", said Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the U.S. "The countdown is on as to what Trump will do next".

While the U.S. tariffs aim to cut down the trade deficit, there are worries about how China's retaliatory tariffs will hit the U.S. economy.

It might be the trade war of the century, but US and Asian markets were not rattled by the formal start of the US-China trade war on Friday.

John Heisdorffer, a soybean grower from Iowa and president of the American Soybean Association, said the group had appealed to the Trump administration to find other solutions to addressing trade issues with China. It gave no immediate details of possible retaliation but Beijing earlier released a target list of American goods for duty increases including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey.

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Beijing said it had no choice but to respond in kind by taxing a similar amount of USA goods coming into China.

In short term, Bangladeshi importers, particularly RMG exporters, might have to procure cotton, the main raw material for apparel products, at higher price as cotton in Indian market was already costlier due to the trade war, he explained.

There was no sign of renewed negotiations between United States and Chinese officials before Friday, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

On the other hand, Bangladesh market may also be flooded with cheap Chinese products affecting local industry as China will try to retain its market elsewhere. "We urge the two governments to come back to the negotiation table with the aim of having productive discussions based on achieving results - focused on fairness and reciprocal treatment - instead of escalating the current situation".

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"Don't expect the "war" to be out in the open in some imaginary tit-for-tat tariff battlefield".

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