- Global markets roiled after China announced retaliatory measures against US tariffs on Tuesday evening.
- State TV in China reports that Beijing plans to levy tariffs on more than 100 products traded with the US.
- Planned measures include 25% tariffs on soybeans, automobiles, and chemicals, according to reports.
- US stock futures have plunged, while several European indexes lost more than 1% in Wednesday-morning trade.
- President Donald Trump responded to China’s announcement by tweeting that the US was “not in a trade war with China.”
Global markets were diving Wednesday morning following reports that China planned to retaliate against the US in an escalating trade conflict between the two nations.
China plans to impose tariffs on more than 100 American products with a combined trading value of over $US50 billion, swiftly firing back at the US just hours after the Trump administration made similar proposals on Chinese products.
According to Bloomberg, 106 US products are affected, including proposed 25% tariffs on soybeans, automobiles, and chemicals.
The news seems to have spooked investors, with futures markets in the US tumbling along with major European indexes as well as commodities affected by the tariffs. Here’s the scoreboard of key assets as of about 12:30 p.m. BST (7:30 a.m. ET):
- Dow Jones futures – down 1.99% indicating an open of 23,555 (down 480 points)
- Nasdaq 100 futures – down 1.8% indicating an open of 6,341 (down 117 points)
- S&P 500 futures – down 1.5% indicating an open of 2,575 (down 39 points)
- Soybean futures – down 4.67% to $US9.90
- Germany’s DAX stock index – down 1.42% at 11,834 points
China’s government had effectively preannounced the measures earlier Tuesday, with China’s Commerce Ministry saying in a statement that it would “soon take measures of equal intensity and scale against US goods.”
Zhang Xiangchen, the Chinese ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, urged members to “join with China in firmly resisting US protectionism,” according to Reuters.
China’s ultimate announcement came less than 24 hours after the US announced an initial list of roughly $US50 billion worth of products it said would be subject to new tariffs planned by President Donald Trump.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer unveiled the list, which includes a wide array of products such as raw materials, construction machinery, agricultural equipment, electronics, medical devices, and consumer goods.
The 25% tariffs would apply to roughly $US50 billion worth of goods coming from China each year. The tariffs are the result of an investigation by the Office of the US Trade Representative, which has accused the Chinese government of stealing intellectual property.
The US’s proposed tariffs would target specific industries that China identified as part of its Made in China 2025 plan – an initiative being undertaken by the Chinese government to “comprehensively upgrade Chinese industry.”
Xiangchen, the WTO ambassador, said the moves were “an intentional and gross violation of the WTO’s fundamental principles of nondiscrimination and bound tariffs.”
The trade skirmish between the world’s two biggest economies has many fearing a full-scale trade war – something widely expected to negatively affect global economic growth.
Last month, analysts at the Australian bank Macquarie argued that in the scenario of a “full trade war” the US would enter a recession in 2019, with unemployment more than doubling from today’s levels.
On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted that the US was “not in a trade war with China.”
“We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S.,” he said. “Now we have a Trade Deficit of $US500 Billion a year, with Intellectual Property Theft of another $US300 Billion. We cannot let this continue!”