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U.S. business to Trump: Don't go through with China tariffs

06 April 2018

Kudlow said China should take Trump "seriously" on tariffs but that ultimately the president was a "free-trader". Farming states were also among Trump's staunchest supports in the election.

"Unilaterally imposing $50 billion of new tariffs without a long-term strategy that leads to economic reforms in China will only hurt America's businesses, workers, and families", the Business Roundtable, which represents top CEOs from companies like JPMorgan, 3M and Apple, tweeted Tuesday night.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that if China doesn't give in to the USA, the proposed tariffs will lock into place.

The prospect of a trade war between the USA and China "continues to cast a dark shadow over global capital markets", warned Stephen Innes, an analyst at OANDA.

"If protecting USA intellectual property is the ultimate goal here, I'm not sure how destroying shareholder wealth, damaging CEO confidence and making the American farmer the main sacrificial lamb here after six years of pain on the farm is going to get us there", said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer with Bleakley Advisory Group, in a client note.

Chinese state media slammed Mr Trump's threat of more trade action against China as "ridiculous". In 2017, USA producers sent $19.6 billion worth of items to China.

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On Wednesday, China's ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, told reporters in Washington that Beijing preferred to resolve the trade dispute through negotiations, but China's official mouthpieces took a tougher stance.

China has repeatedly vowed that it would open up sectors such as financial services.

Addressing a tax reform round table in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, he highlighted ongoing economic tensions with China - before turning his attentions to the 28 European countries.

Trump made good on his campaign promise to rein in trade by announcing sanctions on steel and aluminum imported from China in early March. The US is the third largest exporter of pig meat to China.

Fair trade and dealing with China's perceived abuses is an important issue for the USA president's core supporters and has qualified backing from some elements of the US business community.

But despite a 2012 WTO ruling that China was discriminating against foreign payment card companies, no USA firm has yet been granted a license. "He's standing up for this country, but he's also standing up for better world trade". When ties between Beijing and Seoul chilled, Chinese tourism to South Korea plummeted and Made-in-South Korea products were shunned by consumers in China. He's a researcher at a think tank associated with China's Ministry of Commerce. BMW exports 89,000 cars a year from the U.S.to China, while Mercedes-Benz sends 65,000 cars, according to analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein.

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"Citi economists' base case remains for moderate tightening of trade and investment rules", the analysts wrote, "not a full blown trade war".

"We do have a window of opportunity to reach a mutually beneficial trade position with China until the time that tariffs are implemented", said Wesley Spurlock, chairman of the trade group and a Texas farmer.

"Hawkish Federal Reserve policy plus threat of trade war equals potential danger", Shah added.

USA import inflation picked up to 3.5% in February, having dipped close to 1% in 2017.

"This is what a trade war looks like, and what we have warned against from the start", said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay.

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U.S. business to Trump: Don't go through with China tariffs