White House moves to calm fears of trade war over new Chinese import tariffs

White House moves to calm fears of trade war over new Chinese import tariffs

16/03/18

Luke Foddy, Communications Manager

New tariffs on Chinese imports proposed by the US this week can be implemented without causing a trade war, the Director of the White House National Trade Council told CNBC on Thursday.

Peter Navarro said that the US was acting to create a “trading environment that works not just for Americans but for the rest of the world.”

“This is going to work out fine. The world’s going to be a better place,” he said.

However, Navarro’s comments failed to convince US Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue, who said that such tariffs, associated with a probe of China’s intellectual property practices, would amount to “damaging taxes on American consumers,” Reuters reports.

“Tariffs could lead to a destructive trade war with serious consequences for U.S. economic growth and job creation,” Donohue said.

China’s official response has so far been muted, but Chinese media are starting to take a bolder line.

In an editorial yesterday, China Daily stated that ‘the Trump administration cannot resist the temptation of trade protectionism in pursuit of US primacy, which it believes is being challenged by the economic competition playing out in a broader strategic context.’

‘Even the most playful cat will scratch if you provoke it beyond a certain point,’ it added.

The new tariffs, mooted on Tuesday, will be placed on Chinese goods ‘unless the country agrees to end a law forcing foreign businesses to transfer proprietary technology to their Chinese partners,’ the South China Morning Post reports.