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ECONOMY

China Blasts ‘Protectionist’ U.S. in Lengthy White Paper

China’s cabinet released a 36,000-word white paper blasting the U.S. for “going back on its word and being consistently troublesome,” an hour after new American tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods went into force.

The white paper, entitled “Facts on China-U.S. Economic and Trade Friction and China’s Position,” said that while some economic tension is natural between the world’s biggest economies, the Trump administration (not mentioned by name) has abandoned the systems of consultation and discussion, state media Xinhua reported. (link in Chinese).

“Since the new U.S. government took office under the slogan of ‘America First’ in 2017, we have abandoned the basic norms of international exchanges such as mutual respect and equal consultation, and implemented unilateralism, protectionism and economic hegemony,” Xinhua said

“Many countries and regions, but especially China, have suffered from false accusations, and have suffered economic intimidation in the form of increasing tariffs and other means, in order to put extreme pressure and impose others’ interests on China.”

U.S. tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese products came into force at midday Beijing time on Monday, on top of the $50 billion in goods already charged higher duties earlier in the year. A further $60 billion of goods from the U.S. will become subject to Chinese higher tariffs around the same time, adding to the $50 billion already levied. Cargo and freight movements surged in the days before as companies raced to complete deliveries before the deadline.

The Hong Kong markets were reacting negatively as of 3:35 p.m. on Monday, with the Hang Seng Composite Index down by 1.76% at the time of writing.

The document suggests Beijing’s growing resignation that the trade war is unlikely to be resolved in the short term. Over the weekend, China reportedly canceled planned trade talks and Vice Premier Liu He’s scheduled visit to Washington next week, also reflecting the souring mood.

Last week at the World Economic Forum’s “Summer Davos” event in Tianjin, former U.S. Assistant Trade Representative Timothy Stratford noted that, “For China, the biggest question has been to figure out what the U.S. really wants and that’s been difficult because of the many voices coming out of the White House. Both sides are suspicious of the other’s intentions, and there is going to be a deadlock for sometime as neither wants to change its point of view.”

Contact reporter Ke Dawei (daweike@caixin.com)

Read more about the China-U.S. trade war.


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