Published On: Fri, Jul 6th, 2018

Trump’s ‘gang of HOODLUMS’ starts ‘biggest trade war in history’ with China today | World | News

Opening shots were fired at 12.01am this morning as Washington stuck to its deadline and began imposing tariffs on $34bn of Chinese goods.

Beijing’s response came within minutes as it imposed a series of levies on a similar quantity of US imports.

A spokesman for the ministry of commerce in Beijing said: “China promised not to fire the first shot, but in order to safeguard the country’s core interests as well as that of the people, it is forced to fight back.”

He described the US actions “a violation of world trade rules” and accused Donald Trump of “initiating the largest-scale trade war in economic history”.

Mr Trump has railed against Beijing for intellectual property theft and barriers to entry for US businesses and a $375 billion US trade deficit with China.

China has sought the moral high ground during the increasingly bitter build up to the trade war by positioning itself as a champion of free trade but state media has now ramped up the rhetoric against the US President.

The state-run China Daily fumed: “In effect, the Trump administration is behaving like a gang of hoodlums with its shakedown of other countries, particularly China.

“Its unruliness looks set to have a profoundly damaging impact on the global economic landscape in the coming decades, unless countries stand together to oppose it.”

While the initial volley of tariffs was not expected to have major immediate economic impact, the fear is that a prolonged battle would disrupt makers and importers of affected goods in a blow to global trade, investment and growth.

Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the US-China Business Council in Beijing, said: “For companies with supply exposure to tariffs, they will move sourcing country of origin if they can.

“If they can’t, they’ll pass on as much of the tariff cost as they can, or see a cut in margins.

“Companies don’t know how big this may get, or how it will end.”

US Customs and Border Protection officials have started collecting 25 percent duties on a range of products coming in from China including motor vehicles, computer disk drives, parts of pumps, valves and printers and many other industrial components.

The list avoids direct tariffs on consumer goods such as mobile phones and footwear.

China’s tariffs on hundreds of US goods include top exports such as soybeans and cotton.

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