White House Urges China Address ‘Unfair Trading Practices’ Not Tariff Retaliation

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption The'danger of a US-China trade war

The move comes after Trump asked U.S. trade officials to consider imposing a 25% tariff on $200bn of Chinese goods, up from the 10% level originally proposed last month, as the two countries attempt to reach an agreement on trade.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders countered by telling reporters today that "instead of retaliating, China should address longstanding concerns about its unfair trading practices".

The Trump administration has issued temporary emergency financial support of $12 billion to help farmers hard-hit by China's retaliatory tariffs such as soybean farmers.

China, which purchased nearly 14 percent of all U.S. LNG shipped between February 2016 and May 2018, has taken delivery from just one vessel that left the United States in June and none so far in July, compared with 17 in the first five months of the year.

An all-out trade war could overshadow Trump's otherwise solid economic record of low unemployment and stimulus-fuelled growth. Last year, China imported about $130 billion of USA goods.

Beijing's earlier round of tariffs appeared created to minimize the impact on the Chinese economy by targeting soybeans, whiskey and other goods available from Brazil, Australia and other suppliers. While that could signal investors pulling money from the country, it could also help Chinese exporters manage the impact of higher United States import tariffs.

Chinese authorities warned earlier that if the dispute escalated, they would adopt unspecified "comprehensive measures".

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However, speaking to reporters at the White House, Kudlow said there had been some communication on trade "at the highest level" in recent days.

By comparison, companies in America sold £100bn ($130bn) of goods to China during the same period.

Signalling the nation's readiness to respond to higher tariffs threatened by Donald Trump on $200bn of Chinese imports, officials in Beijing said countermeasures were ready and waiting for the next move from Washington.

Beijing says the United States is deliberately creating the trade conflict, using bullying tactics, and ignoring worldwide negotiating norms so that it can stop the rise of China as a competitor on the world stage. Washington also wants China to stop subsidizing Chinese companies with cheap loans, claiming that this allows them to compete unfairly.

The dispute is part of broader USA complaints about global trading conditions that have prompted Trump to raise duties on steel, aluminum, washing machines or solar panels from Canada, Europe, Japan and South Korea. It had also become the largest buyer of USA crude oil outside of Canada, but Kpler, which tracks worldwide oil shipments, shows crude cargoes to China have also dropped off in recent months.

The United States and China trade goods and services worth about $650 billion each year, the largest trading relationship in the world between two countries. So far this year, the trade gap is up more than 7 percent from January-June 2017.

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