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20 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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China accuses Trump of ‘blackmail’ after new tariffs threat

AFP
China accuses Trump of ‘blackmail’ after new tariffs threat
Donald Trump pumps his fist as he leaves a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, on Monday in Washington. AP Photo

Beijing yesterday accused Donald Trump of "blackmail" and warned it would retaliate in kind after the US president threatened to impose fresh tariffs on Chinese goods, pushing the world's two biggest economies closer to a trade war, reports AFP from Beijing.

Trump said on Monday he had asked the US Trade Representative to target $200 billion worth of imports for a 10 per cent levy, citing China's "unacceptable" move to raise its own tariffs.

He added he would identify an extra $200 billion of goods -- for a possible total of $450 billion, or most Chinese imports -- "if China increases its tariffs yet again".

"Further action must be taken to encourage China to change its unfair practices, open its market to United States goods and accept a more balanced trade relationship with the United States," Trump said in a statement.

Last week, he announced 25 per cent tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports, prompting Beijing to retaliate with matching duties on US goods.

The US leader warned Friday of "additional tariffs" should Beijing hit back with tit-for-tat measures.

"The trade relationship between the United States and China must be much more equitable," he said in explaining his latest decision.

"I have an excellent relationship with President Xi (Jinping), and we will continue working together on many issues. But the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world."

China's commerce ministry immediately responded by saying the US "practice of extreme pressure and blackmail departed from the consensus reached by both sides during multiple negotiations and has also greatly disappointed international society".

"If the US acts irrationally and issues a list, China will have no choice but to take comprehensive measures of a corresponding number and quality and take strong, powerful countermeasures."

The news hit stock markets in Asia, with Shanghai down almost four per cent and Shenzhen tumbling nearly six per cent, while Hong Kong fell more than two per cent.

Leading the fall in Hong Kong was Chinese telecom giant ZTE, plunging nearly 26 per cent and shedding nearly two-thirds of its value since striking a deal with the Trump administration to lift a ban on using critical US components.

But on Monday, the US Senate defied Trump by voting to overrule his administration's deal with legislation to reimpose the ban on hi-tech chip sales to the company, whose fate has figured prominently in the trade talks.

Trump is moving forward with the trade measures after months of sometimes fraught shuttle diplomacy in which Chinese offers to purchase more American goods failed to assuage his grievances over a widening trade imbalance and China's aggressive industrial development policies.

China had offered to ramp up purchases of American goods by $70 billion to help cut its yawning trade surplus with the United States, whereas Trump had demanded a $200 billion deficit cut.

"Disregarding the consensus reached by the two countries, the US is playing fast and loose and once again stirring up a trade war," said China's foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

"This way of doing things breaks faith with everyone," Geng said.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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