China prepares to hit back at Trump's tariffs; stocks keep falling

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On Thursday, US President Donald Trump ordered 25 percent tariffs on at least US$50 billion of Chinese imports, including information and communication technology. "It is impossible to imagine that they can not", Robert Carnell, head of Asia Pacific Research at ING in Singapore, wrote in a client note.

Products made in Taiwan and sold directly to the United States might benefit, however, if their Chinese competitors face higher tariffs, Lee said.

USA businesses seem happy that there's a pause, albeit brief, for them to weigh in. "The Chinese people and American public will blame president Trump for the turmoil both countries will have experienced".

These hurdles would only get higher if a trade war were to erupt between the United States and China.

American farmers "should be not necessarily infuriated but close to it", said Wayne Humphreys, who farms corn and soybeans and raises hogs and cattle near Columbus Junction, Iowa.

Taiwanese companies are involved in every step of the supply chain in China, with some making their products in China before exporting them to the United States or Europe and others exporting semi-finished products to China before selling them to other countries, Wu said. "Look at what happened to Lotte Mart", wrote Liang Wei on Weibo, referring to the South Korean chain which saw its China business collapse after trade tensions between Beijing and Seoul. Total theft of USA trade secrets accounts for anywhere from $180 billion to $540 billion per year, according to the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property - as "the world's principal IP infringer", China accounts for the most of that theft.

Trump argues that previous USA presidents were way too soft on China.

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"If they mark the start of an unravelling of the current rules-based architecture, the USA and global economy will be significantly negatively affected", the rating agency said in a statement.

Chen contended, however, that even if the United States and China reach a compromise on the tariff plan, endless trade disputes could occur in the future, and the USA would still have to appeal to the WTO and go through the WTO's dispute and settlement mechanism before it could retaliate. "We feel that focusing on reciprocal treatment while maintaining strong communications between the governments will be the best path forward to get to our goal of a level playing field based on fairness".

"China has done a very, very good job since it entered the WTO in 2001 of carefully constructing its protectionist policies, and other unfair policies, in a way that allows them to skirt WTO disciplines", he said. The Trump administration, true to form, wants to cut the program instead.

China's commerce ministry said it won't sit idly by while its legitimate interests are harmed and will take all necessary measures to resolutely defend them. -China relations and the global economy are likely to remain in a state of uncertainty over the next 12 to 18 months.

"Maybe he wanted it this way, but Xi missed every opportunity to negotiate good-faith solutions to trade and investment disputes".

The Commerce Ministry announcement Friday made no mention of jetliners, soybeans or other products that are the biggest USA exports to China by value.

"Conflict is unavoidable", said Hui Shousheng, a researcher at the Tsinghua National Strategy Institute in Beijing.