China Calls on U.S. to Be 'Cool-headed' in Trade War

China Chinese flag        , The Canadian Press

China Chinese flag , The Canadian Press

China warned the United States against "blackmailing and pressuring" it over trade as the Trump administration mulls trying to force officials back to the negotiating table through threats of even higher tariffs.

Increasing the rates to 25 percent could make them significantly more painful.

On July 10, Washington unveiled a list of another $200 billion in Chinese goods, from areas as varied as electrical machinery, leather goods and seafood, that would be hit with 10 percent import duties.

"The increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is meant to provide the administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behavior and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets and prosperity for all of our citizens", he said.

"It's important that countries refrain from devaluing currencies for competitive purposes", a senior administration official told reporters.

The United States has already slapped 25% tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34 billion to punish Beijing for what it says are its unfair trade practices.

Jake Colvin, vice president of the National Foreign Trade Council, said the Trump administration could be boxing itself into a corner.

"We hope that those directly involved in the United States' trade policies can calm down, carefully listen to the voices of USA consumers.and hear the collective call of the global community", he said, adding that pressuring China would not have "any effect".

But the move drew swift condemnation from USA business lobby groups anxious that tit-for-tat tariffs would start to hamper economic growth.

Trump campaigned on a promise to bring down America's massive trade deficits by renegotiating trade agreements and getting tough on countries like China that sell the US far more than they buy from it.

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Interested parties may address this possible increase in the level of the additional duty in their comments on the proposed action, the office of the USTR said.

Lighthizer said China's decision caused "further harm to U.S. workers, farmers and businesses".

China said "blackmail" would not work and that it would hit back if the United States took further steps hindering trade, including applying the higher tariff rate.

"U.S. pressure and blackmail won't have an effect".

"We urge the United States to come to its senses, correct its erroneous acts and create the necessary condition for a proper settlement as soon as possible", spokesman Geng Shuang said.

Investors fear an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing could hit global growth, and prominent US business groups have condemned Trump's aggressive tariffs.

Wednesday's tariff announcement is all the more significant because it follows an agreement between President Trump and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker to negotiate a resolution of trade differences between the USA and EU.

Representatives of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He have been speaking privately as they seek to restart negotiations, Bloomberg reported, citing sources. "But we also believe that this United States dollars support could be derailed if either one or more of the above variables falls out from the equation", says Saktiandi Supaat, an FX strategist at Maybank in Singapore.

The move signalled displeasure among Mr Trump's own party over his protectionist actions, but chances of it becoming law were slim as Congress would likely need to override a presidential veto by Mr Trump.

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