07:20 GMT +321 April 2018
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    The People's Republic of China flag and the U.S. Stars and Stripes fly along Pennsylvania Avenue near the US Capitol during Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit in Washington, DC, US on January 18, 2011.

    ‘An Exactly Proportionate Response’: China’s Measured Retaliation to US Tariffs

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    China’s response to US President Donald Trump’s imposition of new tariffs on Chinese goods last month with their own 25 percent tariffs is a “proportional” response, a writer and lecturer on China tells Radio Sputnik.

    Beijing imposed retaliatory tariffs of up to 25 percent on at least 120 US products April 2 in response to Trump's imposition of tariffs on billions in imports from China the month prior.

    "I think the responses by China are very measured," Jude Woodward told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear. "They were announced previously in response to the US tariff on steel and aluminum, [which is a trade action] that has a value of about $3 billion of Chinese goods."

    "So, China announced that it would impose tariffs on approximately $3 billion of US goods. So, that's an exactly proportionate response. It would be unbelievable if China made no response at all. I think this is a response that says, ‘We will respond, but we will not escalate this tariff war,'" Woodward told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

    Last month, Trump signed a memorandum to slap new tariffs on imports from China. The order imposed a 25 percent import tax on steel and a 10 percent import tax on aluminum. According to the White House, the tariffs are designed to offset the advantages that China allegedly creates for itself through unfair trade practices.

    Late Sunday, China's Finance Ministry announced a list of tariffs on up to $3 billion in US goods. The measures, which took effect Monday, increased tariffs by up to 25 percent on more than 100 US products, including frozen pork, wine and certain fruits and nuts.

    According to Sputnik news analyst Walter Smolarek, who spoke to Loud & Clear, it is the US that has mistreated Chinese manufacturers rather than the other way around. 

    "The US corporations that operate in China make tremendous profits off of the relatively low wages they pay Chinese workers," Smolarek noted.

    Although Trump has repeatedly claimed that China's unfair trade practices, among which he counts stealing technologies and intellectual property, negatively impact the US economy and its workers, Woodward disagreed.

    "Nobody is forcing any company to hand over technology to China. China has been acquiring technological know-how, not by things like reverse-engineering, which the West would describe as stealing intellectual property; rather, China has been investing in foreign firms that already have the technology. That's perfectly reasonable," Woodward explained.

    "The problem with the US is that its economy is somewhat stagnant because of very low levels of savings in the US economy and very low levels of investment. Therefore, although America still has the plurality of the most successful technology firms in the world like Apple and HP, the US economy is in some trouble due to low levels of investment. This is affecting lower tech products like steel and tires as opposed to high-end products. China is not a challenger to Apple." 

    Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democratic senator who has been touted as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, has joined Trump in claiming that Beijing has misappropriated American intellectual property.

    "The whole policy was misdirected. We told ourselves a happy-face story that never fit with the facts," Warren told reporters on Saturday during a visit to China, Reuters reported.

    "Now, US policymakers are starting to look more aggressively at pushing China to open up the markets without demanding a hostage price of access to US technology," she added.

    Becker pointed out that Warren's seemingly provocative statements will find at least one very powerful, receptive audience. "There's a lot of approval for Trump and these tariffs on Wall Street," he noted.

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    China trade wars, trade war, import tariffs, tariffs, trade, China, United States
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