FAQ: US and China trade tariffs. Is a trade war next?

Sight for Sore Eyes       The start of April may be a welcomed change for Asian investors after a rocky March              Source Bloomberg

Sight for Sore Eyes The start of April may be a welcomed change for Asian investors after a rocky March Source Bloomberg

The sell-off was triggered after China announced a list of US products that might be subject to a 25 percent tariff in retaliation for USA tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods.

That was an amount which was "appropriate both in light of the estimated harm to the U.S. economy and to obtain elimination of China's harmful acts, policies and practices", it said.

After a big early loss, USA crude dipped 14 cents to $63.37 a barrel in NY while Brent crude, used to price global oils, fell 10 cents to $68.02 a barrel in London.

Boeing and Caterpillar led a slide in big US manufacturers and technology companies that bore the brunt of the U.S. The overall sluggish global economy also decreased China's exports and further weakened its manufacturing industry, Zhou said. "While U.S. tariffs on all consumer goods average just 1.3 percent, they average 11 percent for footwear and reach rates as high as 67.5 percent". One would think that the last thing that China needs as it copes with the bursting of this bubble is an unfriendly global trade environment that would constrain its exports.

"These tariffs won't be implemented for a little while".

Should the tariffs go into effect, however, they would make for one of the largest trade wars ever involving the United States, said Gary Clyde Hufbauer, a trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"The market is in chaos and panic in the near term and short term investors should take cover".

"If they're not concerned that tells you a lot about what the implications might be", Aguilar said.

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China has struck back in its trade dispute with the Trump administration, imposing tariffs on $50bn of United States goods.

China's retaliation came after trading hours for Japan's Nikkei, which added 0.2 percent in thin volume, while Chinese blue chips ended down 0.2 percent.

Boeing, which delivered one-fourth of all its planes to China previous year, fell as much as 5.7 percent early on and finished with a loss of $3.38, or 1 percent, at $327.44.

The FTSE index in London closed up 0.05 percent, while the DAX closed down 0.37 percent and France's CAC 40 index fell 0.2 percent. Were that to occur, it nearly certainly would have untoward consequences for the USA and global economic recoveries.

Hopes that Tuesday's gains in US equity markets would lead to a more lasting rebound foundered the S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 and Dow all slumped alongside both the Stoxx Europe 600 Index and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index. Already, in a separate move, the United States is drawing up a list of about $50 billion in Chinese imports to tax in an effort to punish Beijing for stealing American technology or forcing US companies to hand over trade secrets. Caterpillar slid 0.8 percent.

That day, there was word that South Korea had made concessions on imports of American cars, what some called Trump's first major trade deal. But if the U.S. does get into a full-scale trade war, it would be the first time since the Great Depression.

Q: What reasons do Washington and Beijing have for avoiding a trade war?

As the opening shots are fired in the China-US trade skirmish, the rest of the world is bracing itself for the fallout from the conflict between the world's two largest economies. The euro hovered at $1.2296, after easing from a top of $1.2335 overnight, while the dollar index was 0.2% lower at 90. The British pound declined 0.1% to $1.4046, while the Japanese yen climbed 0.4% to 106.23 per dollar.

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