Trump warns he could do ‘a lot more’ on China trade

Devin Lawrence
October 13, 2018

Concerns have been raised that China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasurys, might start dumping its holdings as a way to pressure the United States in the trade dispute.

Chinese exports to the U.S. have at least temporarily defied forecasts they would weaken after being hit by punitive tariffs of up to 25 percent in a fight over American complaints about Beijing's technology policy.

China's export data has been surprisingly resilient to tariffs, possibly as companies ramped up shipments before stiffer US duties go into effect, but factory surveys have shown export orders have been shrinking for several months.

China will remain on a monitoring list for currency manipulation because of its significant trade surplus with the US, the people said.

Imports grew 14.3 percent, slightly missing forecasts, customs data showed Friday.

The US tariffs cover a broad range of Chinese consumer goods, while China's were aimed mainly at American liquefied gas, machinery and electric equipment. This makes Chinese products cheaper overseas. Apple, for instance, has an established supply chain in the world's second-largest economy, with the Greater China region accounting for about a fifth of its sale.

"The way the USA has structured the tariffs encourages frontloading because firms that know they're going to hit with tariffs would rather pay 10 percent than 25 percent", he said.

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And Huo Jianguo, a trade expert at the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing, tells the Post that Trump might want to rethink his trade strategy when he sees that the trade deficit with China has only widened under his watch.

But there are reports Mr Trump could hold talks with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the upcoming G20 summit on November 30.

"Markets are not efficient and markets move in both directions and at times they overshoot in both directions", Mnuchin said early Thursday in an interview on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund annual meetings in Bali, Indonesia.

Mnuchin said he viewed the market turbulence as a "natural correction after the markets were up a lot" rather than a sharp plunge triggered by bad news on the economy.

The direct impact and indirect influence caused by ongoing trade frictions is "controllable", the General Administration of Customs said Friday, according to a report in the state-run China Daily.

President Donald Trump regularly cites the United States' massive trade deficit with China as a primary justification for his decision to implement tariffs. "If China wants the surplus to come down, they have to embark on structural reforms".

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