Tashkent (Uzbekistan): The tariffs Beijing announced it would slap on US imports was a response to Washington’s threat to raise its previously announced pending tariffs of 10 percent to 25 percent on Chinese imports worth US$200 billion, China Central Television (CCTV) said.
Whether, when and how China’s tariffs – which range from 5 percent to as high as 25 percent on 60 billion dollars worth of U.S. imports – will be implemented depends on if and how the United States proceeds with its tariff threat, according to a commentary by the China Daily published on Sunday.
True, the blow Beijing will punch in return is not as heavy as the one Washington is proposing. However, it is not a matter of whose blow is heavier. It is a matter of where the blow is struck. That is what China has taken into consideration in deciding its response.
The differentiated tariffs it will retaliate with mean that Chinese enterprises and residents will not suffer too much because of the tariffs, nor will the global supply chains be too seriously affected.
In the face of the bullying of the Trump administration, Beijing must remain sober-minded and never let emotion override reason when deciding how to respond to the U.S. administration’s unreasonable and insensible self-promoting hullabaloo.
China has long insisted that trade disputes should be settled through talks and a trade war is naturally the last thing it wants. That is why it has reiterated on different occasions that it will not fire the first shot. And why it has repeated time and again that it will always keep the door open for negotiations.
But that does not mean that China is afraid of a trade war and it will acquiesce to the US’ protection racket. Given China’s huge market, its systemic advantage of being able to concentrate resources on big projects, its people’s tenacity in enduring hardships and its steadiness in implementing reform and opening-up policies, the country can survive a trade war.
However, the Chinese authorities still consider the retaliatory tariffs as a means not the end. As an old Chinese saying goes, it is impolite not to reciprocate.
The announcement that Beijing will retaliate if necessary is a reminder to Washington that China will never buy its threats but it is willing to negotiate on an equal footing.
Unless it gives up its arrogant trade posture, the United States should not expect any concession from China.