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Soybean farmer reacts to China tariffs: ‘A lose-lose situation’

08 Juillet 2018

The United States imposed the first duties on $34 billion in Chinese goods early Friday, officially launching a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

"China would never start a trade war but if any party resorts to an increase of tariffs then China will take measures in response to protect development interests".

Iowa soybean farmer Ron Heck on the impact of US trade tensions with China on farmers in America.

Retaliatory measures "took effect immediately", said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang.

Beijing earlier released a target list of $34 billion worth of imported U.S. goods, including automobiles and agricultural products that also faced 25 percent tariffs.

The first ever United States tariffs aimed just at China will likely rally Trump's voters who agree with his "America First" argument that Beijing hasn't played fair for years, stealing America's intellectual property and undercutting its manufacturers.

In a further move to escalate tensions between the world's two largest economies, U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington could ultimately raise tariffs on more than $500 billion in Chinese products - almost the total value of U.S. imports from the country previous year.

Beijing slapped additional 25 percent tariffs on 545 USA imports totaling $34 billion - including automobiles and agricultural products such as soy beans and beef - as part of a retaliatory plan involving 659 items worth $50 billion.

Consumer Technology Association: "While President Trump says his trade policy is meant to punish China, the numbers show that, in reality, USA businesses, workers and consumers will pay the price under this policy", said Sage Chandler, the group's vice president for global trade.

The Trump administration has contended that China has deployed predatory tactics in a push to overtake USA technological dominance, including cybertheft and requiring USA companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to China's market.

For the time being, analysts say it's hard to see Washington or Beijing backing down in the dispute.

Trump has accused the country of abusing unfair trade practices and harming American companies.

Steve Hettinger, 55, who farms south of Philo, said that when he hears the word tariff, it never has a good connotation.

"A lot of our exchange with places like China and Mexico and Canada involves buying parts we need for our finished products", Goodman said. The Chinese are likely to take a more nationalistic view, as compared to Americans, of the suffering caused by a trade war.

When Donald Trump became US President he promised to "Make America Great Again".

Main US benchmarks are headed for the first weekly gain in several weeks, with a consensus view that this round of tariffs, even if combined with taxes on another US$16 billion in Chinese products, will have a minimal impact on the economy.

The first round targets Chinese industrial goods, not consumer products, in an attempt to limit the impact on US households, but companies that rely on Chinese-made machinery or components may eventually have to pass along increased costs to customers. So many little parts for nearly everything are manufactured in China, and there can be a real hold-up in manufacturing because of these tariffs.

The rift with China is the most consequential trade conflict the administration has provoked. If the trade war heats up, officials might impose further obstacles and target a broader range of goods.

The risk of an ever-escalating U.S-China trade war has businesses in both countries nervous. Jeremy Haft, author of Unmade in China, tells NPR's Noel King that Beijing has a number of arrows in its economic quiver, and that it is "already using these weapons".

Soybean farmer reacts to China tariffs: ‘A lose-lose situation’