Chinese premier slams 'unilateralism' in trade disputes

American flag is displayed with Chinese flags on top of a trishaw in Beijing. Andy Wong  The Associated Press

The Chinese government said late Tuesday that it would impose tariffs on U.S. goods worth $60 billion following the Trump administration's announcement that it was hitting $200 billion worth of Chinese goods with new tariffs.

"China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers due to their loyalty to me", Trump tweeted.

Trump has also complained about America's gaping trade deficit - $336 billion previous year - with China, its biggest trading partner.

China's Finance Ministry said its tariff increases are aimed at curbing "trade friction" and the "unilateralism and protectionism of the United States".

"They don't know what to do", he added. There will be great and fast economic retaliation against China if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted!

"We're doing a very good job with China", he said before reiterating his threat to add tariffs to $267 billion of Chinese goods if Bejining retaliates.

China hit back with tariffs of its own on US$50 billion of United States products and focused on the agriculture sector - punishing industries whose workers largely supported Mr Trump.

"They're having a tremendous impact on China", Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday after enacting new ten percent tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese imports on Monday.

"China's development over the past decades has always been achieved by overcoming all sorts of different obstacles and challenges", he said. He demanded Canada and Mexico renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement to make it more favourable to the United States. They have high expectations that Trump will fail in the elections.

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The report quoted one senior Chinese official saying the country would not negotiate "with a gun pointed to its head". The move, which had been expected since at least the weekend, imposes 10 percent tariffs on the products.

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European stocks only briefly turned lower after China retaliated to the latest US sanctions, while Wall Street stocks spent the entire day in the green, viewing the latest escalation of the US-China trade war as less consequential than feared.

The administration earlier this month floated the idea of talks led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He expected to lead the Beijing delegation. Share prices have dipped, only to then resume their growth, in part because of deep corporate tax cuts that took effect this year and a solid US economy in its 10th straight year of expansion. The 25 percent tariffs that Trump imposed on imported washing machines in January quickly translated into sticker shock for shoppers.

Flags for U.S. President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign are made in a factory in Fuyang, China.

According to Xia Yeliang, a libertarian scholar and former professor of economics at Peking University, Chinese leaders will be looking to save face as they were caught off-guard by Trump's announcement.

China, for months, has refused USA demands that it change its unfair trade practices. "We don't want others to interfere in our domestic politics, and we will not interfere in the domestic politics of others".

The American Chambers of Commerce in China and in Shanghai said last week that half of more than 430 companies that responded to a survey say they have suffered from slower customs approvals and been subject to more environmental and other inspections.

"Many family farms are afraid they won't be able to pay the bills if this misguided trade war continues", Heitkamp said in a statement.

"China has been unable to match the United States dollar-for-dollar in this round of tariffs, so a key question is what other steps China might take", Mark Williams, chief China economist at research firm Capital Economics, wrote in a note.

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