In this Dec 8, 2018 photo, a cargo ship is seen at a port in Qingdao in China's eastern Shandong province. China voiced deep disappointment late on May 8, 2019 about Washington's plan to raise tariffs on Chinese imports on May 10, saying that it will take necessary countermeasures if the US tariffs increase takes effect. (STR / AFP)
China voiced deep disappointment late on Wednesday about Washington's plan to raise tariffs on Chinese imports on Friday, saying that it will take necessary countermeasures if the US tariffs increase takes effect.
The planned tariffs increase on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent was filed by the Office of the US Trade Representative,and the filing appeared on Wednesday in the Federal Register
The planned tariffs increase on US$200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent was filed by the Office of the US Trade Representative, and the filing appeared on Wednesday in the Federal Register, the Associated Press reported.
In response, an unnamed spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on the ministry's website that escalating trade friction does not serve the interests of people in the two countries and the world.
Major US trade bodies have urged the Trump administration to avoid further escalating tensions by suddenly increasing tariffs on Friday, while experts said it's sensible for China to continue negotiations in a measured way.
"This is a predicament for soy growers," American Soybean Association President Davie Stephens said on Tuesday. President Donald Trump threatened in a tweet on Sunday to increase tariffs.
Stephens, a grower from Clinton, Kentucky, said that US farmers are in a tough situation, and with depressed prices and unsold stocks forecast to double before the 2019 harvest begins in September, farmers urgently need the China market.
"We need a positive resolution of this ongoing tariff dispute, not further escalation of tensions," he said in a release posted on the ASA website.
Nicole Kaeding, vice-president of federal and special projects at the Washington-based Tax Foundation, said that if the Trump administration follows through on the president's threat, it's US taxpayers, not Chinese taxpayers, who will pay the price－thanks to higher prices and fewer job opportunities. "Raising tariffs is not good for economic growth and will reduce employment in the United States," Kaeding said.
The Information Technology Industry Council also warned against further raising tariffs.
"Increasing tariffs will only continue to harm American consumers and businesses of all sizes and across all sectors, as well as threaten American economic growth and leadership in innovation," Naomi Wilson, the council's senior director of policy for Asia, said in a statement.
US chemical manufacturers also called for sensible trade policy solutions.
Cal Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, said he believed the risks of continuing to use tariffs as a negotiating tactic with China are simply too high, and potential benefits remain unclear.
China supplies the US with several chemicals that are not available anywhere else and are critical to US manufacturing. China is also the third-largest export market for US chemicals manufacturers, he said.
"We are starting to see signs that the tariffs are disrupting supply chains, cutting off markets and eroding US chemical-manufacturing competitiveness," Dooley said on Monday.
"ACC and its members strongly urge President Trump to remain focused on sensible solutions with China this week and forgo the imposition of higher tariffs," Dooley added.
Several organizations, including Tariffs Hurt the Heartland－the national campaign composed of more than 150 of the largest US trade organizations in retail, technology, manufacturing and agriculture－have in recent days highlighted the negative impact of tariff increases on the US economy and job market.
They cited a report in February from Trade Partnership Worldwide as saying that increasing tariffs on US$200 billion of goods to 25 percent, coupled with tariffs already in place－as well as expected Chinese retaliation－would reduce US employment by more than 934,000 jobs and push down US GDP by 0.37 percent.
The US was China's third-largest trading partner in the first four months of this year, the General Administration of Customs said on Wednesday.
Data from the customs authority showed two-way trade between China and the US declined 11.2 percent year-on-year to 1.1 trillion yuan (US$162.5 billion) in the January-April period.
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On Tuesday, Beijing expressed a desire to continue economic and trade talks with Washington, saying the Chinese side does not shy away from disagreement, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Invited by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Vice-Premier Liu He will visit the US on Thursday and Friday to attend the 11th round of the bilateral consultations on trade issues.
The fact that Beijing is still sending a delegation to the US for the trade talks and urging the two sides to meet each other halfway for a trade deal is "very wise on China's part", said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow and trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.
Douglas H. Paal, vice-president of the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said, "It makes sense to continue the talks because the alternative would be a drastic signal to markets."
Jing Shuiyu in Beijing contributed to this story.
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