As the US Government tariffs on $34 bn of Chinese imports took effect at 0401 GMT (midnight US Eastern Time) on July 6, President Donald Trump threatened to escalate the trade war with tariffs on a total of $450 bn in Chinese goods if Beijing retaliates. Beijing said retaliatory tariffs on US goods will go into effect immediately after the US acts.
The development has rankled financial markets worldwide, including stocks, currencies and global trade of commodities, global newswire reported. Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said China will not bow down to US ‘threats and blackmail’ and is determined to defend free trade and the multilateral system.
China has reportedly reached out to other World Trade Organisation (WTO) members to jointly fight what it described as ‘Washington’s flagrant violation of global trade rules’. Many countries, including India, cautioned the United States at the WTO recently not to impose unilateral trade measures.
Meanwhile, the US National Retail Federation (NRF) urged the US administration to abandon its plans for tariffs on another $200 bn in Chinese imports, which would destroy thousands of American jobs and raise prices on virtually everything sold in US stores. “These tariffs will do nothing to protect US jobs, but they will undermine the benefits of tax reform and drive up prices for a wide range of products as diverse as tool sets, batteries, remote controls, flash drives and thermostats,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said on July 5.