‘No surrender’ in US trade war, says China

Door remains open for dialogue but China prepared to dig in

‘China will not be afraid or back down if a trade war is unavoidable. The country has never surrendered to external pressure, and it will not surrender this time either,’ according to the official Xinhua news agency.

‘China will not be afraid or back down if a trade war is unavoidable. The country has never surrendered to external pressure, and it will not surrender this time either,’ according to the official Xinhua news agency.

 

China pledged “no surrender” in a burgeoning trade dispute with the US, saying the country had never surrendered to external pressure and was not about to start now.

At the same time, Beijing held out the prospect of dialogue after US president Donald Trump introduced 25 per cent tariffs on a host of Chinese exports worth $50 billion (€40.7 billion) including medical products, TVs and motorbikes.

China retaliated swiftly with its own threatened tariffs on 106 US imports including soybeans, planes, cars, orange juice and whiskey.

“China will not be afraid or back down if a trade war is unavoidable. The country has never surrendered to external pressure, and it will not surrender this time either,” the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary.

Yao Yang, dean of the National School of Development and director of the China Centre for Economic Research at Peking University, said China should use this opportunity to reform China’s domestic economy to reduce the reliance on imports.

“If we can build a China-oriented position, and reconsider economic and trade relations between China and the US, then we might be able to handle the Sino-US relationship more smoothly,” Yao told the Sina.com website.

Tesla unplugged

One of the companies most likely to be hit by a trade war is the electric carmaker Tesla. Last week, the company staged a major event at a downtown Beijing shopping mall, and it was attended by hundreds of potential buyers.

Unlike Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, Tesla does not have a joint venture with a Chinese company, and all Teslas are imported, meaning a 25 per cent tariff.

However, anyone buying a Tesla will have to pay a 50 per cent tariff if China retaliates against US tariffs.

Tesla ships about 15,000 cars from its California factory to China every year.

China’s state media, not known for being reticent, has responded with a “tough but fair” tone that makes Washington out as a naive and dangerous aggressor in the trade dispute and China the unwilling victim.

China “is willing to talk, willing to strike a mutually agreeable balance in bilateral trade. But Washington should not mistake that for weakness. It will continue trading blows if forced to do so,” said an editorial in the China Daily’s English language edition.

It said Trump had turned a deaf ear to complaints about its trade strategy at home but the country’s ranchers and workers would soon be attacking him.

“And since trade is the basis for his decisions, not the target, as a shrewd businessman, Trump surely knows it is time to strike a deal,” the China Daily said.

The stridently nationalist Global Times tabloid said among the weapons in China’s armoury was weakening the strength of its yuan currency.

“Since China is the world’s largest trading economy and the largest buyer of commodities like oil products, China could use its influence to push its own currency in global markets to reduce the dominance of the US dollar. That would be a heavy blow to Washington,” said the paper.

“If this trade war comes to pass, it will be an evenly matched total war between China and the US economies, and not some small scuffle. It would be delusional for the US to think it will be victorious at the end of this trade war. China comes up with the conclusion in confidence, and will not shy away from letting Washington know in this situation,” it said.

The ruling Communist Party’s official organ People’s Daily adopted a similarly robust attitude.

“Within 24 hours of the US publishing its list, China drew its sword, and with the same strength and to the same scale, counterattacked quickly, fiercely and with determination,” it said.