China’s Counterpunch to Trump’s Tariffs Sparks Global Selloff
Date: Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Tit-for-tat tariff threats from the U.S. and China ignited fears that a trade war is beginning between the world’s two largest economies, lowering U.S. stock futures.
President Donald Trump pushed back against an escalation with the Asian superpower, saying on Twitter that “we are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S.”
China on Wednesday, matching the scale of proposed U.S. tariffs announced the previous day, said it would levy an additional 25 percent levy on around $50 billion of U.S. imports including soybeans, automobiles, chemicals and aircraft.
The step escalates the risk of a trade war between the world’s two largest trading nations, with the Trump administration’s latest offensive based on alleged infringements of intellectual property in China. While the dispute centers around a $375 billion goods trade imbalance in favor of China, the U.S. is also now targeting high-tech sectors that Beijing sees as the future for its economy, prompting an angry reaction.
“China’s response was tougher than what the market was expecting -- investors didn’t foresee the country levying additional tariffs on sensitive and important products such as soybeans and airplanes,” said Gao Qi, Singapore-based strategist at Scotiabank. “Investors believe a trade war will hurt both countries and their economies eventually.”
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