US, China impose fresh tariffs with no trade talks in sight

US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and retaliatory tariffs by Beijing on $60 billion worth of US products took effect on Monday. (AP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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US, China impose fresh tariffs with no trade talks in sight

  • The two countries have already slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other’s goods earlier this year
  • Trade talks in Washington last month produced no meaningful progress

BEIJING: The US and China imposed fresh tariffs on each other’s goods on Monday, as the world’s biggest economies showed no signs of backing down from an increasing bitter trade dispute that has rattled financial markets.
US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and retaliatory tariffs by Beijing on $60 billion worth of US products took effect as of 0401 GMT.
The two countries have already slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth of each other’s goods earlier this year.
Chinese products hit with new US duties include vacuum cleaners to Internet-connected devices, while US goods targeted by Beijing include liquefied natural gas and certain types of aircraft.
China’s state council will publish a white paper at 1 pm local time (0500 GMT) on the trade frictions with the US, the official Xinhua news agency reported, without giving further details.
Though a senior White House official last week said the US will continue to engage China for a “positive way forward,” neither side has signaled willingness to compromise.
The US official said on Friday there was no date set for the next round of talks. The Wall Street Journal reported that China, which has accused Washington of being insincere in trade negotiations, has decided not to send Vice Premier Liu He to Washington this week.
Economists warn that a protracted dispute will eventually stunt growth not just in the US and China but across the broader global economy.
The trade tensions have also cast a pall over broader relations between Beijing and Washington, with the two sides butting heads on a growing number of issues.
China summoned the US ambassador in Beijing and postponed joint military talks in protest against a US decision to sanction a Chinese military agency and its director for buying Russian fighter jets and a surface-to-air missile system.
Trade talks in Washington last month produced no meaningful progress.
Rob Carnell, chief Asia economist at ING, said in a note to clients that in the absence of any incentives Beijing would likely hold off on any further negotiations for now.
“It would look weak both to the US and at home,” he said, adding that there is “sufficient stimulus in the pipeline” to limit the damage of the latest tariffs on China’s growth.
“The US-China trade war has no clear end in sight.”
China may also be waiting for US mid-term elections early next month for any hints of changes in Washington’s policy stance, Carnell added.
“With generic polls favoring the Democrats, they may feel that the trade environment will be less hostile after November 6.”
The US administration will levy tariffs of 10 percent on the $200 billion of Chinese products, with the tariffs to go up to 25 percent by the end of 2018.
Beijing set its new levies on $60 billion of US goods at 5 and 10 percent and warned it would respond to any rise in US tariffs on Chinese products accordingly.
US President Donald Trump on Saturday reiterated a threat to impose further tariffs on Chinese goods should Beijing retaliate, in line with his previous comments signaling that Washington may move to impose tariffs on virtually all imported Chinese goods if the administration does not get its way.
China imports far less from the US, making a dollar-for-dollar match on any new US tariffs impossible.
Instead, it has warned of “qualitative” measures to retaliate.
Though Beijing has not revealed what such steps might be, business executives and analysts say China could withhold exports of certain products to the US or create more administrative red tape for American companies.
Some analysts say there is also a risk that China could allow its yuan currency to weaken again to cushion the blow to its exporters.


Iraq’s oil minister names new deputies

Updated 2 min 40 sec ago
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Iraq’s oil minister names new deputies

  • Fayadh Nema was named deputy minister for upstream affairs
  • Mutasim Akram was also named the new deputy minister of gas affairs

BEIRUT: Several months after promising reform at his ministry, Iraq Oil Minister Thamer Al-Ghadhban on Friday reshuffled several key deputies.
Fayadh Nema was named deputy minister for upstream affairs. He had previously been deputy minister for refining operations. That position will now be occupied by Hamed Younis Saleh, formerly the deputy minister of gas affairs.
Mutasim Akram was also named the new deputy minister of gas affairs. He was previously deputy minister for distribution affairs and will be replaced in that post by Karim Hattab Jafar.
Al-Ghadhban, who was nominated by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and confirmed by a parliamentary vote last October, replaced Jabar Al-Luaibi as minister. Al-Luaibi has since become head of the new National Oil Company.
Al-Ghadhban helped resuscitate a flagging oil industry after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. He was interim oil minister from 2004-5 and a former energy adviser to former premier Haider Al-Abadi.
Days after being confirmed in a parliamentary vote last October, he said he would look at ways to reform the oil ministry.