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Dangerous game


Beijing’s quick reaction is an unequivocal manifestation of its determination to safeguard its legitimate interests and fight protectionism

U.S. President Donald Trump. Picture: AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

China’s decision to slap an additional 25% tariff on 659 types of US goods worth $50billion (R670bn) should remind the US government that a trade war it has initiated has a price tag.

China imposed the tariff on US goods such as agricultural products, auto and aquatic products immediately after the Trump administration announced on Friday tariffs on $50bn worth of Chinese goods.

Beijing’s quick reaction is an unequivocal manifestation of its determination to safeguard its legitimate interests and fight protectionism.

The White House’s tariff decision is a stark violation of the core spirit of consensus reached in recent China-US trade talks, and is set to backfire if Washington does not back off from its dangerous adventurism.

The two sides have achieved substantial results in the recent three rounds of negotiations in Washington and Beijing, and there have been promising signs of improving trade relations despite the difficulty of entirely ironing out their trade differences in the short term.

The Trump administration’s abrupt turn to tariffs, however, has served as the declaration of a trade war against China, and once again betrays its tumultuous, unilateral and wilful decision-making style, which is set to undermine normal trade relations between the world’s two biggest economies.

What the US should bear in mind is that its unilateral moves will lead to nothing but resolute fighting back from its trade partners, as indicated by China’s imposition of tariffs on imported US goods.

Given the frequent flip-flopping of President Donald Trump’s administration, it is still too early to conclude that a full-blown war will be under way.

But China’s stance has been consistent: it welcomes dialogue but is not afraid of a trade war.

It will not sit idle allowing its core interests to be damaged by any unilateral and protectionist move of any trade partner.

The US should not underestimate China’s resoluteness in safeguarding its national interest.

China, as the world’s second largest economy and the largest consumer market, has announced and taken substantial moves to further open its economy, which will provide development opportunities for all countries, including the US.

It will be regrettable if US companies fail to benefit from China’s economic liberalisation moves due to Washington’s refusal to cast away its adventurism.

Facing substantial damage from US unilateralism and protectionism, the world’s major economies, such as China and Europe, should join hands to fight back to teach the US a lesson that it must pay a dear price if it stubbornly sticks to its own way regardless of the interests of other countries.

China Daily Newspaper