Roundup: Experts from world's leading economies criticize Trump's China tariffs

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Added On July 8, 2018

   BEIJING, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Business leaders and scholars from the world's leading economies have criticized the trade war initiated by Washington that will have profoundly negative consequences.

   The U.S. additional tariffs of 25 percent on 34 billion U.S. dollars' worth of Chinese imports took effect Friday.

   "With tariffs against China taking effect, American consumers are one step closer to feeling the full effects of a trade war," Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, said Thursday in a statement carried by the association, the world's largest in retail trade.

   "These tariffs will do nothing to protect U.S. jobs, but they will undermine the benefits of tax reform and drive up prices for a wide range of products as diverse as tool sets, batteries, remote controls, flash drives and thermostats," Shay said.

   To explain how rising retail prices brought about by the tariff hike will impact especially ordinary consumers, Shay mentioned college students in particular, saying they will have to pay more for the mini-refrigerator they need in their dorm room when the fall semester starts.

   China's retaliatory tariffs of equal scale went into force immediately after Washington fired the first shot.

   U.S. President Donald Trump has also said he is prepared to levy duties on additional Chinese goods worth 200 billion dollars if China retaliates, a threat condemned by Shay, who urged Trump to pull the brake on the escalating hostilities.

   "We strongly urge the administration to abandon its plans for tariffs on another 200 billion dollars in Chinese imports, which would destroy thousands of American jobs and raise prices on virtually everything sold in our stores," Shay said.

   Martin Wansleben, general manager of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, said Friday in an interview with broadcaster Suedwestrundfunk that the trade dispute is "structurally catastrophic," and finally "a system of rules is practically destroyed."

   Wansleben said the U.S. move "is not about economic issues, it's about ideology and politics and it's about the (U.S. mid-term) elections in November."

   Germany is infuriated by Trump as he has threatened to impose 20 percent of tariffs on German cars, which form the backbone of the German manufacturing sector. In doing so, Trump wants to reinvigorate the U.S. automotive industry at Germany's expense.

   Tomoo Marukawa, professor at the Institute of Social Science of the University of Tokyo, said the United States' goal of reducing trade deficits by tariff measures, especially by imposing tariffs on Chinese goods, will by and large fail.

   Marukawa said the tariffs will result in companies no longer considering producing inside the United States and choosing instead to produce in another country and export to the United States. Then the United States will have to continue importing those items, so its deficits won't drop, he added.

   In trade disputes between Japan and the United States during the 1980s and 1990s, Tokyo was targeted by the same so-called Section 301 investigation that Washington is now using against China to determine what it says are forced technology transfers to Beijing that burden or restrict U.S. commerce.

   Marukawa said by launching such an investigation, the United States has skirted WTO rules, so China's retaliation against those moves that violate WTO rules is justifiable.

   In addition, tit-for-tat tariffs between the United States and China are very likely to bring negative impacts on the Japanese economy, the scholar said.

   Higher product prices boosted by additional tariffs will force Chinese and U.S.consumers and companies to shrink their consumption and investments. As a result, there will be a decline in Japanese exports to the two countries due to less demand, Marukawa added.  Enditem