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Trade wars: China warns Donald Trump of tit-for-tat raw deal

If Trump wrecks Sino-US trade, a number of US industries will be impaired. Finally the new president will be condemned for his recklessness, ignorance and incompetence,” a Communist party-controlled newspaper in China said

A Communist party-controlled newspaper in China has claimed that US president-elect Donald Trump would be a “naive” fool to launch an all-out trade war against China.

During his election campaign, Trump had repeatedly lashed out at China for costing US jobs and had vowed to punish Beijing with “defensive” 45% tariffs on Chinese imports and to officially declare it a currency manipulator”.

“When they see that they will stop the cheating,” the billionaire Republican, who accused Beijing of “the greatest theft in the history of the world”, had said in a rally in August.

The state-run Global Times on Monday warned that such measures would be a grave mistake.

“If Trump wrecks Sino-US trade, a number of US industries will be impaired. Finally the new president will be condemned for his recklessness, ignorance and incompetence,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

The Global Times claimed any new tariffs would trigger immediate “countermeasures” and “tit-for-tat approach” from Beijing.

“A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the US.”

“Making things difficult for China politically will do him no good,” the newspaper warned.

It said: “To impose a 45% tariff on imports from China is merely campaign rhetoric. The greatest authority a US president has is to impose tariffs of up to 15 per cent for 150 days on all imported goods and the limit can only be broken on the condition that the country is declared to be in a state of emergency. Other than that, a US president can only demand a tariff increase on individual commodities.”

It also reminded what the US did when Brack Obama was elected as the president and its aftermath. It said: “Not long after Barack Obama took office, US trade and commerce authorities announced a 35% import tariff on Chinese tires. In response, China took retaliatory steps of imposing tariffs on US chicken and automotive products. Both China and the US suffered losses as a result. From then on, the Obama administration waged no trade war against China.”

China’s foreign ministry has used more diplomatic language to caution Trump not to square up to Beijing.

The excoriating editorial was printed hours after Trump spoke to China’s president, Xi Jinping. The president-elect’s staff said Trump thanked Xi for his well wishes and congratulations on his election victory.

The statement read: “During the call, the leaders established a clear sense of mutual respect for one another, and President-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward.”

However, experts say officials in Beijing are still battling to untangle what a Trump presidency means for relations between the world’s two largest economies but wager he is unlikely to follow through on his most radical campaign pledges.

 

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