China is running out of bullets in its trade war with the US
In announcing new retaliatory tariffs today, China claimed that its response to Donald Trump’s latest escalation is “rational [and] restrained.” That may be a function of reality more than policy, although it’s most likely a combination of the two. The moves would add graduated tariffs to $60 billion in American imports into China, a blow to US producers but not as harsh as the $200 billion escalation from Trump that prompted it:China's unfair trading practices and its huge trade surplus with the US has left it vulnerable and Trump recognized that before the trade war began. For the sake of its own economy, China needs to come to the table and offer reciprocal trade policies that Trump finds acceptable. It is what you do when you are out of ammo.
China will impose differentiated tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods if the United States presses ahead with its latest trade threats, Beijing warned Friday.If it’s rational and restrained, it’s because China has just about reached the functional limits for a trade war against the US. Two weeks ago, Trump threatened to go far beyond the added $200 billion in potential penalized imports, saying he might slap tariffs on the entire $500 billion in imports from China. Beijing only has the ability to penalize $129 billion, largely because of the trade restrictions that Trump wants ended.
In a statement, the Commerce Ministry said the tariffs would be at rates of 5, 10, 20 and 25 percent.