China says tariff threat ‘justified’

This photo taken on August 2, 2018 shows workers at a swimwear factory in Yinglin town in Jinjiang, in China's eastern Fujian Province. China's garments industry is expected to be affected with the escalating US-China trade war. (AFP photo)
Updated 05 August 2018
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China says tariff threat ‘justified’

  • China and the US have been embroiled for months in a trade conflict that has threatened to hurt consumers in both countries
  • Washington claims that China’s export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of US technological know-how

SINGAPORE: China’s foreign minister said on Saturday that his country’s threat to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion of US goods in an escalating trade dispute was “fully justified.”

Beijing threatened on Friday to bring in the levies on products ranging from beef to condoms, after US President Donald Trump’s administration upped the ante in its plans for additional tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion.

Washington suggested the rate on the proposed extra tariffs could be increased from 10 to 25 percent.

China and the US have been embroiled for months in a trade conflict that has threatened to hurt consumers in both countries.

Washington claims that China’s export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of US technological know-how.

Speaking on the sidelines of a security forum in Singapore, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China’s threat of retaliatory tariffs was “fully justified and necessary.”

“These are measures taken out of the consideration for upholding the interests of the Chinese people,” he said, speaking through a translator.

He said the move was also aimed at upholding the “global free trade regime.” 

Wang also hit back at comments by top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who ridiculed China’s tariff threat as “weak” and said the world’s second-largest economy was in significant “trouble.”

“As to whether China’s economy is doing well or not, I think it is all too clear to the whole international community,” Wang said.

In early July, the US imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, with another $16 billion to be targeted in coming weeks, sparking retaliatory measures from China. Days later, Washington unveiled a list of another $200 billion in Chinese goods.

But Trump raised the stakes this week with a threat to lift the tariff rate.

China has said that new duties will be applied only if Washington pulls the trigger on its new tariffs.

Decoder

China-US Trade War

In early July, the US imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, with another $16 billion to be targeted in coming weeks, sparking retaliatory measures from China. Days later, Washington unveiled a list of another $200 billion in Chinese goods that would be hit with 10 percent import duties.


US eases restrictions on China’s Huawei to keep networks, phones operating

Updated 21 May 2019
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US eases restrictions on China’s Huawei to keep networks, phones operating

  • The company is still prohibited from buying American parts and components to manufacture new products without license approvals
  • Out of $70 billion Huawei spent buying components in 2018, some $11 billion went to US firms
WASHINGTON: The US government on Monday temporarily eased some trade restrictions imposed last week on China’s Huawei, a move that sought to minimize disruption for the telecom company’s customers around the world.
The US Commerce Department will allow Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to purchase American-made goods in order to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets.
The company is still prohibited from buying American parts and components to manufacture new products without license approvals that likely will be denied.
The US government said it imposed the restrictions because of Huawei’s involvement in activities contrary to national security or foreign policy interests.
The new authorization is intended to give telecommunications operators that rely on Huawei equipment time to make other arrangements, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement.
“In short, this license will allow operations to continue for existing Huawei mobile phone users and rural broadband networks,” Ross added.
The license, which is in effect until Aug. 19, suggests changes to Huawei’s supply chain may have immediate, far-reaching and unintended consequences for its customers.
“The goal seems to be to prevent Internet, computer and cell phone systems from crashing,” said Washington lawyer Kevin Wolf, a former Commerce Department official. “This is not a capitulation. This is housekeeping.”
Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, declined to comment.
The Commerce Department said it will evaluate whether to extend the exemptions beyond 90 days.
On Thursday, the US Commerce Department added Huawei and 68 entities to an export blacklist that makes it nearly impossible for the Chinese company to purchase goods made in the United States.
The government tied Huawei’s addition to the “entity list” to a pending case accusing the company of engaging in bank fraud to obtain embargoed US goods and services in Iran and move money out of the country via the international banking system. Huawei has pleaded not guilty.
Reuters reported Friday that the department was considering a temporary easing, citing a government spokeswoman.
The temporary license also allows disclosures of security vulnerabilities and for Huawei to engage in the development of standards for future 5G networks.
Reuters reported Sunday that Alphabet Inc’s Google suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware, software and technical services except those publicly available via open source licensing, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new authorization.
Out of $70 billion Huawei spent buying components in 2018, some $11 billion went to US firms including Qualcomm Inc. , Intel Corp. and Micron Technology Inc.
“I think this is a reality check,” said Washington trade lawyer Douglas Jacobson. “It shows how pervasive Huawei goods and technology are around the globe and if the US imposes restrictions, that has impacts.”
Jacobson said the effort to keep existing networks operating appeared aimed at telecom providers in Europe and other countries where Huawei equipment is pervasive.
The move also could assist mobile service providers in thinly populated areas of the United States, such as Wyoming and eastern Oregon, that purchased network equipment from Huawei in recent years.
John Neuffer, the president of the Semiconductor Industry Association, which represents US chipmakers and designers, said in a statement that the association wants the government would ease the restrictions further.
“We hope to work with the administration to broaden the scope of the license,” he said, so that it advances US security goals but does not undermine the industry’s ability to compete globally and remain technology leaders.
A report on Monday on the potential impact of stringent export controls on technologies found that US firms could lose up to $56.3 billion in export sales over five years.
The report, from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, said the missed opportunities threatened as many as 74,000 jobs.
Wolf, the former Commerce official, said the Huawei reprieve was similar to action taken by the department in July to prevent systems from crashing after the US banned China’s ZTE Corp, a smaller Huawei rival, from buying American-made components in April.
The US trade ban on ZTE wreaked havoc at wireless carriers in Europe and South Asia, sources told Reuters at the time.
The ban on ZTE was lifted July 13 after the company struck an agreement with the Commerce Department that included a $1 billion fine plus $400 million in escrow and replacement of its board of directors and senior management. ZTE, which had ceased major operations as a result of the ban, then resumed business.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York and David Shepardson in Washington; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Angela Moon; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Cynthia Osterman)