Trump's China tariffs leave room to negotiate, but investors fret


China has urged the United States to "pull back from the brink" as U.S. President Donald Trump's plans for tariffs on up to $60 billion USA in Chinese goods, while events in the South China Sea and at the United Nations suggest a broader pattern of worsening relations.

"Disrupting trade flows will jeopardise the global economy at a time when economic recovery, though fragile, has been increasingly evident around the world". China's decision to hit back was based on the Trump administration's decision to apply tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum earlier in March, it said. A probe was launched a year ago under Section 301 of the 1974 U.S. Trade Act.

China announced a list of US goods including pork, apples and steel pipe that it said may be hit with higher import duties in response to President Donald Trump's tariff hike on steel and aluminum. "China does not want a trade war, but China is not afraid of a trade war".

Beijing reported a trade surplus of $275.8 billion with the United States past year, or two-thirds of its global total. Once a final list is published, there will be a 30-day consultation period, potentially allowing Beijing and Washington to negotiate.

One of the most recent high profile examples of theft of US intellectual property happened earlier this year.

Trump said he views the Chinese as "a friend", and both sides are in the midst of negotiations.

"If a trade war were initiated by the United States, China would fight to the end to defend its own legitimate interests with all necessary measures".

Wall Street is anxious that a major trade conflict will break out and damage the global economic recovery.

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Mayor Eric Menassi told LCI TV : "The man entered the shop screaming " Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), I'll kill you all". President Emmanuel Macron said the incident appeared to be a terrorist attack and security forces were securing the area.

Chinese officials are trying to figure out how to address USA concerns, said Jake Parker, vice president for China operations of the U.S. "China won't change its ways". "I just worry if it gets really ugly, they may go for the nuclear option".

"Until the Trump administration articulates those concerns and how China can address them, it's going to be very, very hard for China to make those changes", said Parker.

"As our members increasingly tell us, however, the current trading relationship is neither open nor fair". The White House said on Thursday it was taking action in retaliation for China's use of pressure and intimidation to obtain American technology and trade secrets.

Trump is planning to impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum - trade penalties aimed at China for flooding the world with cheap steel and aluminum. Major industrials that could become targets of Chinese trade retaliation slumped further, with aircraft maker Boeing down 5.2 per cent and earthmoving equipment maker Caterpillar falling 5.7 per cent.

"We strongly call on the USA government to work together with the Chinese government to resolve disputes in a constructive way and avert the outbreak of a trade war", it said in a statement on its website. "They have offered concessions", said Mary Lovely, a Syracuse University economist and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

It's unclear how the regulations will affect the U.S. However, representatives on Capitol Hill maintain a positive outlook, and are standing firmly behind the president and U.S. workers. "We still have some cards to play".

Wei Jianguo, vice chairman of Beijing-based think tank China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, told China Daily that Beijing could impose tariffs on more USA products, and is considering a second and even third list of targets.

"China has made clear its position several times that it stands firmly against such unilateral and trade protectionist practices from the US side", an official with the China's Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.