American companies in China have much at stake in the trade dispute

Posted April 10, 2018

China stepped up its attacks on the Trump administration on Monday over billions of dollars worth of threatened tariffs, but US President Donald Trump again voiced optimism the two sides would hammer out a trade deal.

After repeated pledges by Beijing to open up sectors such as financial services have yielded little substantial progress, Mr Trump has said the United States will no longer let China take advantage of it on trade.

Foreign business groups welcomed Xi's commitment to reforms, including promises to strengthen legal deterrence on intellectual property violators, but said the speech fell short on specifics.

"Human society is facing a major choice to open or close, to go forward or backward", Mr Xi said to the audience made up mainly of Chinese and global investors.

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Investors across the globe are bracing for uncertain markets over an escalating trade dispute between the US and China. There will be a decrease in competition on prices in the United States markets, and this will be bad news for consumers.

"It goes back to the fact that there is still uncertainty on trade wars and even if we get a slight indication that it won't be the worst case scenario, the market reacts positively", he said, while predicting ongoing trade tensions throughout 2018. "But it's something we had to do", the president said last Friday.

Farmers "are great patriots", Trump said at the White House.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan said Tuesday that trade issues between the USA and China won't get resolved soon and warned of potential damage if the dispute is prolonged.

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The appropriate response from China would be to change its behaviour, said a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding the administration will use all available tools to protect American workers, farmers and ranchers. The expert stresses that some sectors of the United States economy could benefit from the battle of tariffs, even if the majority lose.

China's global surpluses are now far below the US negotiating targets of a few years ago, China has spent about $1 trillion propping up its currency, and intellectual-property protections are far better enforced. Beijing, on the other hand, vowed strong retaliation and blamed the US for wrecking global trade order.

Xi's remarks follow weeks of tit-for-tat tariffs between Beijing and Washington and mutual threats of more levies on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products that have raised fears of a trade war that could lacerate the global economy. As of right now, a full-blown trade war is not our expectation. Those imports enable USA companies to remain competitive and keep assembly of final products here in the United States.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He promised at the World Economic Forum in January that China would roll out fresh market openings this year, and that it would lower auto import tariffs in an "orderly way". Rather than waiting weeks for the USA tariffs to be implemented, Trump backed a plan by Robert Lighthizer, his trade representative, to seek the enhanced tariffs. The U.S. bought more than $500 billion in goods from China past year and now is planning or considering penalties on some $150 billion of those imports. In a double whammy to USA industry, our own government is threatening to impose 25 percent tariffs on a range of industrial goods and machinery imported from China.

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