Canada 'caught in the crossfire' of US-China trade dispute


In a statement released this week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says President Trump ordered him to begin the process of imposing an additional ten percent tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The US said that was in response to Beijing's failure to change its policies and to retaliate for last week's US tariff hike by increasing its own duties on American goods.

The list names more than 6,000 items including food products, minerals and consumer goods such as handbags.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association said new tariffs on Chinese imports would punish American families by driving up prices. China has vowed to retaliate dollar-for-dollar to any further United States tariffs.

"China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology", Trump said in June.

Later, Beijing responded to the latest tariff list, calling it a "totally unacceptable" escalation of Washington's trade war.

The Trump administration's decision was received with dismay by key lawmaker Senator Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.Hatch said in a statement the decision "appears reckless and is not a targeted approach". In the long run, he said, it could be a good thing for the USA if they are able to come to an agreement.

Members of Congress are increasingly questioning Trump's aggressive trade policies, warning that tariffs on imports raise prices for consumers and expose United States farmers and manufacturers to retaliation overseas.

The planned new tariffs follow the 25 percent imposed on $34 billion in Chinese products, which Beijing responded to by hitting the same amount of USA imports.

A spokesperson said farmers in Florida and the entire USA rely on export markets.

It also said China would respond to the U.S. actions. Read 'Shocked' by Latest U.S. Tariff Plan, Beijing Seeks Retaliatory Action here.

In financial markets, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.5 per cent, while the main indexes in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell more than 2 per cent.

Tariff hikes are "hitting immediately the bottom line" of companies that rely on the free flow of trade across countries, said Mats Harborn, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

NAM urged the Trump administration to negotiate a trade treaty with China. "It has to resolutely fight back while taking proper measures to help minimise the cost to domestic enterprises and further open up its economy to global investors", it said.

The United States, meanwhile, has lodged 22 WTO complaints against China, accusing the Asian nation of a range of illegal trade practices, including propping up its manufacturing and agricultural sectors with subsidies and effectively stealing the trade secrets of foreign firms.