China's tit-for-tat tariffs 'hardly life-threatening,' says Commerce Secretary Ross

China's tit-for-tat tariffs 'hardly life-threatening,' says Commerce Secretary Ross

- in Business
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Beijing’s announcement triggered heavy selling in global financial markets, with U.S. stock futures sliding 1.5 percent and U.S. soybean futures plunging nearly 5 percent and on track for their biggest fall since July 2016. The dollar briefly extended early losses, while China’s yuan skidded in offshore trade.

Hours earlier, the U.S. government had unveiled a detailed breakdown of some 1,300 Chinese industrial, transport and medical goods that could be subject to 25 percent duties, ranging from light-emitting diodes to machine parts.

The U.S. move is aimed at forcing Beijing to address what Washington says is deeply entrenched theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced technology transfer from U.S. companies to Chinese competitors, charges Chinese officials deny.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China had shown sincerity in wanting to resolve the dispute through negotiations.

“But the best opportunities for resolving the issues through dialogue and negotiations have been repeatedly missed by the U.S. side,” he told a regular briefing on Wednesday.

 American fruit for sale at a supermarket in Beijing, China, on Monday. Wu Hong / EPA

The tariff list from the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer followed China’s imposition of tariffs Monday on a $3 billion list of U.S. goods including pork, apples and steel pipe in response a higher American import duties on steel and aluminum.

China ran a $375 billion goods trade surplus with the United States in 2017, a figure that Trump has demanded be cut by $100 billion.

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