Trump’s New Tarriffs on $200 Billion Chinese Imports Deemed “Blackmail” by China’s MOFCOM

On June 18 evening (EDT), U.S. President Donald Trump announced another tarriff on $200 billion worth of imports from China; Ministry of Commerce in China responded immediately saying “it is blackmail and an extreme threat.”

Trump has set up a tariff rate of 10 percent on a list of goods currently being drafted by U.S. trade representatives under the direction of the President.

The new tarriff came within one week after Trump released an announcement of a 25 percent tariff on up to $50 billion worth of Chinese imports in retaliation to intellectual properly issues on June 15.

China has been retaliating by raising import duties on $34 billion worth of American goods, including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey. Both nations will put the tarriffs in motion starting July 6.

The U.S. imported $505 billion of goods from China last year and exported about $130 billion, leaving a 2017 trade deficit of $376 billion, according to U.S. government figures.

The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) in China responded immediately on June 19 saying that “the practice exerts extreme pressure and is comparable to blackmail.”

“If the U.S. becomes irrational and issues a list, China will have to adopt comprehensive measures in quantity and quality to make a strong countermeasure,” the spokesperson of MOFCOM said in a statement.

Trump said in his statement that he and Chinese President Xi have “an excellent relationship”, and that they “will continue working together on many issues.”

Tom Rafferty's tweet
Tom Rafferty’s tweet

Tom Rafferty, regional director of The Economist Intelligence Unit in China, tweeted on June 19 that “MOFCOM threat to respond with ‘qualitative’ as well as ‘quantitative’ measures to latest Trump tariffs clearest sign yet that U.S. companies in China will be targeted.”

China’s smartphone giant ZTE lost its access to U.S. suppliers in April; earlier in June, the ban of ZTE was lifted under the condition that the company agreed to pay fines, change management and agree to American oversight. However, the US Senate passed legislation on Monday evening that would restore penalties on ZTE.

“The United States initiated a trade war and violated the laws of the market,” said the MOFCOM spokesperson in the statement, “it did not meet the current development trend of the world, harmed the interests of the people and enterprises of China and the United States, and harmed the interests of the people of the world.”