Trump exempts Europe, Brazil and others from tariffs

By Canadian Press

By Canadian Press

The investigation also assessed that China has stolen USA intellectual property by hacking U.S. computer networks, though senior administration officials said Thursday's tariffs would not account for the value of that intellectual property theft, which they estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

China's Commerce Ministry said Beijing was considering a tariff increase of 25 percent on pork and aluminum scrap, mirroring Trump's 25 percent charge on steel.

China has assembled a list of 128 US products in total that could be targeted if the two countries are unable to reach an agreement on trade issues, the ministry added.

On Thursday, Mr Trump threatened to slap new tariffs on $US60 billion ($77 billion) of Chinese manufactured goods, prompting Beijing to threaten it will fight any trade war "to the end".

Vice Premier Liu He told Mnuchin in a phone call that the order Trump signed Thursday violates worldwide trade rules, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Amid concerns that cheap Chinese steel will enter the USA from exempted countries, Navarro says those countries must agree to quotas on exports into the U.S.

In a second step, a 25 percent tariff would be imposed on eight goods totaling almost US$2 billion, including pork and aluminum scrap, after "further evaluating the impact of the USA measures on China", the statement said. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text.

The country could also take further measures, such as targeting U.S. agriculture - 60 percent of United States soya beans are sold to China.

Washington doesn't believe it needs to give Chinese leaders another list of requests because they already know what the United States wants, said a senior U.S. official. "We are confident in our capability to face up to any challenge", the Commerce Ministry said.

The WTO complaint was widely expected as the tariffs come under a USA law which requires a simultaneous legal challenge at the global trade body. A second list of goods including wine, apples, ethanol and stainless steel pipe would be charged 15%, the same margin as Trump's tariff hike on aluminium.

The US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports come into effect this week.

The U.S. Trade Representative's office said Trump's action was in response to "unfair and harmful acquisition of U.S. technology".

Peter Navarro, Trump's hawkish top trade adviser, said the administration had decided on the tariffs in lockstep and said the United States opted to take tariff actions after dialogues with China over the last 15 years have failed to produce significant changes in Chinese behavior.

The president has frequently taken aim at China's huge surplus in goods trade with the United States, which reached $375 billion previous year.

The Commerce Ministry said the higher USA tariffs "seriously undermine" the global trading system.

"It is the largest deficit of any country in the history of our world", he said, adding the tariffs would make the U.S. stronger and richer.

Beijing targeted politicially sensitive items of USA export, like pork, wine and apples, for imposing punishing tariffs. Thus, under World Trade Organization rules China's retaliation is legal. He said Trump and Xi agreed previous year on a 100-day agenda of trade-liberalisation measures but Beijing failed to act on about half of them.

He said hog farmers are already struggling to make a profit, with prices below the break-even point, "and any more pressure against that is just going to hurt us that much more".

GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the committee chairman, said he was "deeply disappointed in the decision to impose global tariffs to address a problem caused by China".

Chinese imports of fresh fruit and nuts have surged in recent years thanks to the country's rapidly growing middle class, which has given rise to a new generation of consumers willing to splurge on healthy food.

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