Published: Sun, September 23, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

China's premier appeals for free trade amid tariff battle

China's premier appeals for free trade amid tariff battle

"The Chinese side has repeatedly emphasized that the only correct way to solve the trade dispute between China and the United States is through talk and consultation on the basis of equity, integrity and mutual respect", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a news briefing.

The tariff and trade situation between the US and China is a tangled web, which is not easy to crawl out of.

Some economists and trade analysts suspect that Trump has bigger goals than just getting China to change its aggressive high-tech industrial policies.

USA companies have long complained that China can make it hard for them to access its massive market and sometimes doesn't play fair under global trade rules.

One way or another, China's economic power is bound to grow. Why is the Trump administration still offering an olive branch to China while putting maximum pressure on it?

"[The trade dispute] hasn't affected us yet, but we don't how it'll affect our customers, since [they] are electronic manufacturers and in automotive, so it could be that if they go down in volume, probably we would have some kind of effect", CEO Thomas Visti said. That would mean another $267 billion of Chinese imports would be subject to US tariffs - in all, every item imported from China.

Speaking to Chinese publication Xinhua, Ma said his promise to create the jobs was made under the assumption that the USA and China would continue to have a friendly partnership and "rational trade relations".

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The official made clear the administration's ultimate goal was not to separate the interlinked United States and Chinese economies, but he said companies could choose to alter their supply chains if Beijing did not change course.

All of this means, he said, is that the system remains stacked against the USA and a system that has been in place that long that has achieved such volumes can not be changed overnight.

But China is only a sham capitalist economy. Louis Kuijs, an economist also at Oxford Economics, forecasts that all the tariffs now imposed will reduce its growth in 2019 by 0.4 percentage point. It should be to encourage China to be a better economic partner. That would raise the cost of many more everyday consumer items - from shoes and toys to smartphones and home appliances. But he says it's too early to determine how exactly the tariffs will affect consumers. Yet his obsession is completely misplaced: 85 percent of the seven million American manufacturing jobs lost since 2000 were eliminated by automation, not by trade. China has said that it will respond with "counter-measures".

Once tariffs lift the price of tilapia, "my hunch is that they will not re-order that".

The tariffs the two countries have implemented so far have already pushed up the manufacturing costs on a range of cars, at a time when auto sales are flagging.

The premier promised to "improve the business environment" for foreign companies.

Sherill Mosee, founder of MinkeeBlue, which makes travel and work bags made in China, says she might have to close her company by next spring if she doesn't find a new manufacturing partner for her handbags, which are now made in China.

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