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China ready for trade showdown with the US: qualitative and quantitative
Time ticked away and silence prevailed over the weekend as China and United States enjoyed a brief truce as the worst trade disputes between the two countries in decades were escalating into an all-out trade war.

Washington announced its plan on June 18 to impose a 10 percent tariff on 200 billion USD worth of Chinese products for alleged  refusal to correct malpractices in trade and improper acquisition of American intellectual property, and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office was ordered by President Donald Trump to identify Chinese products which might be subjected to the new tariffs, but no deadline was set.

Hours later, Beijing’s ministry of commerce announced China would take “qualitative and quantitative measures” to fight back and accused Washington of exerting extreme pressure and blackmailing. Beijing also brushed aside Washington’s charges of intellectual property rights thefts as distortion of history and reality.

China is the world’s number two economy, but it is well aware it is still an underdog compared with the United States in terms of political, military and economic might, and lagging far behind in scientific, technological, financial and many other strategic domains as well, and for decades it has been avoiding a final showdown or a decisive war with the United States whenever disputes arose provided they do not touch upon what it thought were its core interests, and the nationalist leadership in Beijing were more willing to accept economic pains and make concessions in trade talks rather than showing political weakness.

Facing the newest U.S. threat to slap another 10 percent tariff on 200 billion USD of its products, China vowed to fight back firmly with “qualitative and quantitative measures”, but fell short of announcing a tit-for-tat retaliation on 200 billion USD products from the U.S.,a far-cry from the June 15 situation when China immediately announced additional tariffs on 50 billion USD worth of American products, exactly the same counter measure against the U.S. decision on Chinese products announce by Washington earlier in the day.

In the days since June 15, the Trump administration had quietly fought an unannounced war against Chinese products and actually has twice raised tariffs on 400 billion USD of Chinese products, raising the total to 450 billion USD, almost equivalent to the annual Chinese exports to the United States. China bought 129.89 billion USD of goods from the United States as against its 505.47 billion USD exports to the United States in the year 2017, the South China Morning Post reported, quoted official U.S. figures.

China’s “ qualitative and quantitative measures” sounded toothless compared with a direct announcement of a tit-for-tat 10 percent tariff on 200 billion USD of American products, but this position left much room for China to maneuver, it can slap tariffs on 200 billion USD of U.S. products on tit for tat basis over a longer period of time, or targeting the backbone products of the U.S. exports in a shorter run, including farming and aquatic products, airplanes, cars and computers, beverages, bullet train parts, steel for special purposes, high-end garments, medical equipments and pharmaceuticals or any products on an endless list.

China has said for many times it did not want a trade war but it is not afraid of a trade war and even ready to stop a war by a war, it also claimed its peaceful rise is unstoppable and it would march on a steady course of reform and opening up to facilitate a healthy development of its national economy regardless of external changes.

Many Chinese analysts and strategists believe the trade frictions or war between China and the United States would not be die down in the foreseeable future and would rather last in the long term, and the “America first” policy adopted by the Trump administration was 
nothing but unveiled protectionism in nature as well as a veiled containment policy against China as a new rising power.

“America first” policy would surely fuel up protectionism in the United States but backfires and met with subsequent nationalism in China, and the trade war is only one front of competition between China and United States. Mr. Trump started its campaign to demonize the rise of China even before he entered the White House, and blamed it for most of the economic pains the United States suffered since the 2008 financial crisis.

Now 18 months into the presidency, Mr. Trump started to step up his efforts to rewrite the rules for Sino-U.S. trade in the name of narrowing down trade imbalances between the two countries, but at large, the administration was trying to contain the rise of China as a strategic rival and preserve the U.S. leadership or rather hegemony in the world, so the Sino-U.S. trade war is not a simple matter of a trade war.    END

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