Duelling tariffs raise fears of long U.S.-China trade battle

Vastavam web: The United States and China exchanged the first salvos in what could become a protracted trade war on Friday, slapping tariffs on $34 billion worth of each others’ goods and giving no sign of willingness to start talks aimed at a reaching a truce.Duties on a range of Chinese goods imported into the United States took effect on Friday and were immediately countered by measures from China, with Beijing accusing the United States of triggering the “largest-scale trade war”.

The escalating fight between the world’s two biggesteconomies meant that it could “take economic and political pain to get these two parties to the (negotiating) table”, said Scott Kennedy, head of China studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.It will take weeks or months for the U.S. Trade Representative to review and possibly activate any new rounds of punishment.“The key questions during that time are what will happen to financial markets, how will U.S. voters react and will China’s economy start to wobble,” Kennedy said in a telephone interview.

Erin Ennis, senior vice president of the U.S. China Business Council, said there was a danger the two sides will dig in on trade sanctions without a clear strategy for resuming negotiations.China’s commerce ministry said it was forced to retaliate, meaning imported U.S. goods including cars, soybeans, and lobsters also faced 25 percent tariffs.“Tariffs not only hurt our farmers, ranchers and airplane manufacturers, but they also harm every American consumer. We should be working with our allies to isolate China rather than escalate a trade war,” said Senator Jerry Moran, who represents the agriculture-heavy state of Kansas.

China’s soymeal futures fell more than 2 percent on Friday afternoon before recovering most of those losses amid initial market confusion over whether Beijing had actually implemented the tariffs, which it later confirmed it had.For example, U.S.-based audio company Sonos Inc noted in an initial public offering on Friday its performance “may be materially harmed” by trade restrictions.