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US, China Hike Tariffs on Monday       09/24 05:32

   China and the United States imposed new tariff hikes on each other's goods 
Monday and Beijing accused Washington of bullying, giving no sign of compromise 
in an intensifying battle over technology that is weighing on global economic 
growth.

   BEIJING (AP) -- China and the United States imposed new tariff hikes on each 
other's goods Monday and Beijing accused Washington of bullying, giving no sign 
of compromise in an intensifying battle over technology that is weighing on 
global economic growth.

   U.S. regulators went ahead with a planned 10 percent tax on a $200 billion 
list of 5,745 Chinese imports including bicycles and furniture. China's customs 
agency said it responded at noon by beginning to collect taxes of 5 or 10 
percent on a $60 billion list of 5,207 American goods, from honey to industrial 
chemicals.

   The conflict stems from U.S. President Donald Trump's complaints Beijing 
steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.

   American officials say Chinese plans for state-led development of global 
competitors in robotics and other technologies violate its market-opening 
obligations and might erode U.S. industrial leadership.

   China's leaders offered to narrow their politically sensitive, 
multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more 
natural gas and other American exports. But they have rejected pressure to 
change industry plans the communist leadership sees as a path to prosperity and 
global influence.

   Monday's tariff hike follows a report by The Wall Street Journal that 
Chinese officials pulled out of a meeting to discuss possible talks proposed by 
Washington. The Chinese government had given no public indication whether it 
would accept the invitation.

   Envoys last met Aug. 22 in Washington but reported no progress. 

   With no settlement in sight, forecasters say the conflict between the two 
biggest economies could trim global growth through 2020.

   On Monday, the ratings agency Fitch cut its forecasts for next year's 
Chinese and global economic growth by 0.1 percentage points to 6.1 percent and 
3.1 percent, respectively.

   "The trade war is now a reality," said Fitch's chief economist, Brian 
Coulton, in a report. "The downside risks to our global growth forecasts have 
also increased."

   Earlier, the two sides imposed 25 percent penalties on $34 billion of each 
other's goods in July and another $16 billion in August. Business groups say 
American companies also report Chinese regulators are starting to disrupt their 
operations through slower customs clearance and more environmental and other 
inspections.

   The first American tariffs targeted goods Washington said benefit from 
improper Chinese industrial policies. American regulators tried to limit the 
public impact by focusing on industrial machinery and components, but the 
latest $200 billion list includes bicycles, wooden furniture and other consumer 
goods.

   Chinese regulators have tried to cushion the blow on their own economy by 
targeting American goods such as soybeans, natural gas, fruit, whisky and 
automobiles that are available from Europe, Latin America and other Asian 
countries.

   Trump threatened last week to add $267 billion in Chinese imports to the 
target list if Beijing retaliated for the latest U.S. taxes. That would cover 
nearly everything China sells to the United States.

   On Monday, the Chinese government accused the Trump administration in a 
report of "trade bullyism" and of preaching "economic hegemony."

   The toughly worded report said Beijing wants a "reasonable solution" but 
gave no indication of possible concessions.

   It affirmed China's stance that it is a developing country, a claim that 
rankles Washington, Europe and other trading partners.

   They point to China's status as a major manufacturer and a growing 
competitor in smartphones and other technology. They say Beijing is no longer 
entitled to concessions it was granted when it joined the World Trade 
Organization in 2001, such as the right to limit access to its finance, energy 
and other markets.

   Chinese leaders have tried without success to recruit as allies German, 
France, South Korea and other trading partners that echo U.S. complaints about 
Chinese market barriers and industry plans but criticize Trump's approach.

   The Trump administration has "has brazenly preached unilateralism, 
protectionism and economic hegemony, making false accusations against many 
countries and regions, particularly China, intimidating other countries through 
economic measures such as imposing tariffs, and attempting to impose its own 
interests on China through extreme pressure," the official Xinhua News Agency 
said.

   Chinese leaders have announced changes this year including tariff cuts and 
plans to end ownership limits in their auto industry. But businesspeople who 
have met senior planners say they express no willingness even to discuss 
changes to technology development plans.

   As the fight intensifies, China is running out of U.S. imports for 
retaliation. 

   Imports of American goods last year totaled $153.9 billion while the United 
States bought Chinese goods worth $429.8 billion, according to Chinese customs 
data. Monday's increase leaves Beijing with about $40 billion of goods for 
penalties while the Washington has almost $200 billion. 


(KA)

 
 
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