China mulls higher tariffs on USA imports

How much has US lost from China's IP theft?

China has assembled a list of 128 US products in total that could be targeted if the two countries are unable to reach an agreement on trade issues, the ministry said.

US President Donald Trump lit a slow-burning fuse on Thursday to launch long-promised anti-China tariffs, but his actions appeared to be more of a warning shot than the start of a full-blown trade war with Beijing.

"We're very concerned about what might happen as far as a tariff", he said.

It said it has compiled a list of 120 products worth almost $1 billion, including fresh fruit and wine, upon which it would impose a 15 percent tariff if the two countries fail to resolve their trade differences "within a stipulated time".

Beijing targeted politicially sensitive items of United States export, like pork, wine and apples, for imposing punishing tariffs.

The moves would affect about $3 billion in trade if an agreement can not be reached.

"If you're talking about actually changing Chinese behaviour, it's a long, painful process", said Derek Scissors, a China trade expert at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

China, the world's second-largest economy has responded to President Trump's controversial trade tariffs.

China owned $1.17 trillion in Treasuries at the end of January, compared with $14.8 trillion in total U.S. public debt, according to U.S. Treasury data.

"China's response is surprisingly modest in light of the USA actions, suggesting there could be a good deal more to come", said Stephen Roach, a former non-executive chairman for Morgan Stanley in Asia and now a senior fellow at Yale University.

Low-priced manufacturing in mainland China has enabled USA technology brands to take the global market by storm and rake in massive profits, said an executive at a Chinese unit of Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn.

China has always been the world's largest importer of waste and recyclable commodities. "I spent most of the day on the phone with anxious clients".

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In Asia, Japan's Nikkei stock index dropped by more than four percent.

Tokyo's benchmark tumbled by an unusually large 5.1 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index closed down 3.4 percent.

Trump moved on a separate trade front earlier Thursday, paving the way for tariffs on China as punishment for what he said is the theft of American technology.

Some are holding out hope a trade war can be averted and the disputes can be resolved through negotiation. Next came steel and aluminum tariffs, prompting an outcry from trading partners and criticism that those tariffs will have only a small impact on China. Lighthizer said. "So what he has chose to do is to pause the imposition of the tariffs with respect to those countries". The White House then declared a temporary exemption for the European Union and other nations on those levies, making the focus on China clear.

Why the US tariffs on steel and aluminum? The administration has accused China of flooding the world market with undervalued steel, which can make its way to the United States after landing in another country. There's a plausible scenario where Trump fires off an angry tweet to pile on more tariffs, and the situation escalates quickly. And Finance Minister Taro Aso expressed empathy with Washington over protecting intellectual property.

Alex Capri studies global trade at the National University of Singapore.

"We're looking at the [proposals] as a way to get China to the table now", said Peter Donisanu, a Wells Fargo investment strategy analyst, in an interview. The U.S. military put countering China and Russian Federation at the centre of a new national defence strategy it recently unveiled.

He adds, "It doesn't mean a war with China".

Li said Beijing would "fully open" manufacturing, with "no mandatory requirement for technology transfers".

Protectionist trade policies also lead to higher prices for goods and services for consumers and businesses.

Betty Wang, an economist at ANZ bank, said China's reaction is "relatively mild".

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