See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Economics

China takes on US in trade war as Asia makes other plans

China has engaged Washington in a series of reciprocal tariffs – while the rest of Asia watches and makes other plans.


Written by

Updated: April 6, 2018

Despite overtures made by China to negotiate and avoid a trade war, Beijing has signalled that it will not back down from Washington’s protectionist trade policies.

The US administration decided last month to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminium imports from countries including China.

Some countries, including South Korea, have renegotiated trade pacts with the United States to exempt themselves from the tariffs.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to urge Trump in person to offer Japan an exemption from the tariffs, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.

But where some countries have kowtowed to US pressure, China has reversed course and is aggressively countering US policies.

Tit for Tat

China on Thursday filed a request for consultation with the World Trade Organization regarding Washington’s tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

“With the United States refusing to enter compensation negotiations in accordance with WTO rules, China has to initiate the dispute settlement procedure to protect its rights and interests,” Beijing said in a statement.

China also imposed levies on $3 billion worth of US fruits, nuts, pork and wine to protest the Trump administration’s move to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imported from China last month.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration proposed levying 25 percent tariffs on 1,300 Chinese goods in aviation, technology and machinery sectors, which would add up to about $50 billion annually.

In retaliation, China on Wednesday announced plans to impose its own 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of US exports including aircraft, cars and soybeans.

“If the US decides to impose tariffs on Chinese goods in an aggressive way, it will be surprised by the fact that China has the ability to fight back aggressively, too,” said Zhang Monan, director of the Institute of International Trade. “After all, the US relies on Chinese products more than China relies on US goods.”

According to Nirmal Ghosh of the Straits Times, “China’s imposition of tariffs targets part of US President Donald Trump’s political base.”

Those hardest hit by the tariffs will be farmers, blue-collar workers and the manufacturing base, key elements of Trumps demographic and a something to be taken to account as the United States gears itself up for mid-term elections in November.

Both sides have tried to ease fears and have publicly said that they are not embroiled in a trade war, Trump himself tweeted as much.

Meanwhile, China’s state-owned papers have gone on the offensive and highlighted ways the tariffs were bad for both countries and the mistakes made by the Trump administration.

“By threatening protectionist tariffs, Trump has caused a major disruption in the global trading system and also put Americans in harm’s way. US consumers, farmers and blue-collar workers, many of whom voted for Trump, have been hurt already,” said Chen Weihua in an editorial in the China Daily.

“The Trump administration should realize that such a ploy will not work with China, a country that will not yield to any external pressure aimed at compromising its interests,” said another China Daily editorial.

Asia watches

With the world’s two largest economies looking set to continue their tit-for-tat measures, the rest of Asia has quietly begun enacting contingency plans.

South Korea said that it would reduce its reliance on its two main export destinations, the US and China, and diversify its markets to Eurasia, ASEAN and India, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Other countries across Asia have also revived the Obama-administration led Trans-Pacific Partnership – only this time without US involvement.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Economics

Report of NK’s ‘undisclosed’ missile bases not new, S. Korea says

South Korea’s presidential office on Tuesday played down a new report on North Korea’s “undisclosed” missile sites. South Korea’s government said that it’s going too far to call the North’s continued activity a “great deception” given that it has no specific agreement to dismantle or disclose the facilities mentioned in the report issued by Beyond Parallel, a group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The group said it has located 13 out of an estimated 20 missile operating bases undeclared by the secretive communist regime. “The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units are combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations,” the report


By The Korea Herald
November 13, 2018

Diplomacy, Economics

‘Forced repatriation’ to pose security risk

International crisis warns that forced repatriation of Rohingya refugees could pose serious security risks. The International Crisis Group has warned of serious security risks of “forced repatriation” of the Rohingya, just as Myanmar and Bangladesh prepare for the November 15 return of the refugees sheltered in Bangladesh. In a statement, the Brussels-based global advocacy body said Rohingyas strongly opposed the repatriation move and would do whatever they can to resist it. “This [forced repatriation] will increase tension in the camps and could lead to confrontations between refugees and Bangladesh security forces and greatly complicate humanitarian operations. “A botched repatriation attempt could potentially set back peace and development efforts by years,” said the statement released yesterday. It comes two weeks after Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin the repatriation


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Diplomacy, Economics

Suu Kyi stripped of Amnesty honour

The Amnesty International has stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the latest of several honours taken away from her since last year’s brutal military crackdown on the Rohingyas. This is the eighth honour that the former Nobel peace prizewinner has been stripped of over the past year, with Amnesty following the example of Canada, US Holocaust Museum, UK’s Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle and Canada’s Carleton Universities which also revoked Suu Kyi’s honorary degrees and awards. The long-celebrated Nobel Laureate was given Amnesty’s most prestigious honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2009 marking the 20th anniversary of her arrest and 20 years since it declared her a prisoner of conscience. The AI yesterday announced withdrawal of its highest honour fr


By Daily Star
November 13, 2018

Diplomacy, Economics

Kim Jong-un’s Seoul visit unlikely this year: experts

Stalled talks between Pyongyang and Washington likely cause for deceleration of diplomacy. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Seoul appears to be less likely to take place this year without more progress in stalled denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington, experts said Sunday. South Korea’s Moon Jae-in administration is pushing to hold the fourth inter-Korean summit between Moon and Kim in Seoul within the year, in the hope of facilitating a breakthrough in the deadlocked US-North Korea talks. One of the unexpected achievements from the third summit, which was held in September in Pyongyang, was the North Korean leader’s promise to visit Seoul within the year. President Moon said at his speech at the National Assembly earlier this month that Kim’s visit to Seoul will take place in the near future. Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon said Friday at a parliamentary se


By Cod Satrusayang
November 12, 2018

Diplomacy, Economics

US calls on China to remove missiles from Spratly Islands

For the first time, the United States called on China to remove missiles it deployed on three fortified outposts it built in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. The United States called on China to withdraw its missile systems from disputed features in the Spratly Islands, and reaffirmed that all countries should avoid addressing disputes through coercion or intimidation,” the Department of State released in a statement on Saturday (Philippine time) after the high-level US-China diplomatic and security dialogue in Washington. Both US and China committed to supporting peace and stability in the South China Sea, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea in accordance with international law during the dialogue, it added.


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
November 12, 2018

Diplomacy, Economics

Thailand’s KBank to launch e-wallet, invests $50 million US in Grab Taxi

Grab on Thursday announced a partnership with Thailand’s Kasikornbank to launch mobile payment application GrabPay by KBank. The mobile wallet, which is slated to be launched as soon as early 2019, will allow Grab customers to pay for transport and delivery services, transfer funds, purchase products and services online, and make QR-code payments in restaurants and shops across Thailand. Through Thailand’s national e-payments scheme called PromptPay, all three million QR-enabled merchants in the country will be able to accept GrabPay by KBank.


By The Straits Times
November 9, 2018