China hits U.S. soybeans, cars, planes with retaliatory tariffs

Imported nuts from the United States are displayed for sale at a supermarket in Beijing on Monday. China raised import duties on U.S. pork fruit and other products Monday in an escalating tariff dispute with President Trump that companies worry might dep

China was hitting back against U.S. President Donald Trump's plans to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods with similar tariffs on U.S. goods even as Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the administration was involved in a "negotiation" with China rather than a trade war.

China threatened to retaliate with its own 25 per cent levy on around US$50 billion of United States imports including cars, chemicals, soybeans and aircraft.

The Commerce Ministry on Wednesday criticized the USA move as a violation of global trade rules and said China was acting to protect its "legitimate rights and interests".

"At this point, the decision would put on hold any plans to import cars", said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive, adding that "it's really ploy to get the Chinese to the table". "Our action is restrained". "We have done everything to prevent this from happening, but we are still calling for a resolution", said Zhang Xiaoping, China director of the U.S. Soybean Export Council told Reuters. Germany's DAX fell 1.1 percent to 11,867 while France's CAC 40 was down 0.7 percent at 5,114.

BMW is headquartered in Munich, Germany but claims the title of biggest U.S. auto exporter by shipping vehicles including its X5 SUV from its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant. "We don't have futures and forwards markets that are exchange traded", says Hsu, "so it's very hard to control price volatility or hedge without having some of the more sophisticated tools that other crops and commodities have".

These "would target products that benefit from China's industrial plans while minimizing the impact on the United States economy", said the office of the USA trade representative, Robert Lighthizer.

"We certainly don't want to have any trade war with anybody, but people have to understand who started all this", said China ambassador Cui Tiankai on CNBC. He said the USA isn't entering "World War III" and left the door open for a negotiated solution.

Chinese premier Li Keqiang said last month that China would improve conditions for foreign companies, bringing down overall tariffs for imports, and open up manufacturing to foreign investors with no requirement for technology transfer.

The policy calls for creating Chinese global leaders in electric cars, robots and other fields.

Foreign business groups complain that strategy will limit or outright block access to those industries.

Wang, the commerce official, defended "Made in China 2025".

A report released on Tuesday by the USTR also cited complaints that Beijing uses cyber spying to steal foreign business secrets. Soybeans, a major U.S. agricultural export to China, are down 3.2%. That excludes high-end Boeing Co. jetliners such as the 747 and 777, leaving Beijing high-profile targets for possible future conflicts. United States beef, corn and cotton were also on the list.

The Trump administration has threatened to impose tariffs on $50 billion in imports from China. The 106 affected products will also include soybeans and chemicals. "China alone can not make that happen", he said, adding that the USA do not want to sell what China wants to buy.

He said talks between the two countries require "mutual respect and equal treatment, instead of being coerced by one party unilaterally and condescendingly".

More: 401 (k): What stocks, industries are vulnerable in a trade war?

But Chinese government officials dismissed the allegations on Wednesday.

But last month, Trump accused China of continuing to conduct and support "unauthorized intrusions into, and theft from" US company networks when announcing new tariffs on China - raising the specter that Beijing may have run afoul of the agreement.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is brushing off concern over trade war with China.

Washington is trying to promote technology exports to offset its imports from China and support higher-paying jobs. Excluding services, where the US enjoys a surplus, the trade deficit was $375 billion.

Activity in Japan's service sector also grew at its slowest pace in 17 months last month, British shop prices dropped at the fastest pace for more than a year while Australian February building approvals fell 6.2 percent.


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