In response to the 301 investigation against China, proposed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative on April 3, Wei Jianguo, Vice Chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and former Vice Minister of Commerce, told the China Daily that China will fight back with precise countermeasures. “The list of possible counterstrike includes not just American agricultural products, but also planes, automobiles, chips and so on,” explained Wei Jianguo. He also quoted the response of the Ministry of Commerce, saying that China will adopt equivalent measures to raise the tariff on US products, which will exceed the expectations of the U.S.
Earlier, he told the China Daily that following the announcement of the first list of suspended concession for the US products, China is preparing for the second and third lists, which might include aircraft, chips and so forth. Moreover, the measures China can take are not limited to the commodity sector, other industries such as tourism are also possible.
According to the website of the U.S. Trade Representative Office, it has proposed to impose tariffs on about $50 billion worth of products imported from China, based on the so-called 301 investigation. The tariff is 25% and covers about 1,300 products. There will be a 60-day public consultation period, and the final Sanitation List for China 301 investigation will be announced upon expiry.
Wei Jianguo believes that the 60-day public consultation period is only a plan for the United States to hold back its troops and it hopes that China will change its mind. However, we will fight to the end and will adopt appropriate countermeasures once the US proposals take effect.
Wei Jianguo sees this Sino-U.S. friction as a “position war” and whether or not the war will escalate depends on the negotiations between the two sides. The U.S. needs to keep in mind that what it could not get on the battlefield of the trade war is also not available at the negotiation table.
In response to the U.S. 232 measures, China issued a list of US products that it will subject to the tariff, and suspended tariff reduction obligations on 128 imported products originating in the United States. Plus, a tariff rate of 15% is imposed on 120 imported goods such as fruits and products, and 25% on 8 items such as pork and products.
Wei Jianguo stated that China is the first country in the world to implement countermeasures against the U.S. 232 measures without fear. In the face of the U.S. trade protection measures, China has chosen a positive and resolute response, which will help curb the global escalation of trade protectionism.
In addition, Wei Jianguo stressed that the United States is trying to win over other economies so that they can impose joint sanctions on China, such as the European Union, Japan, Australia, and Mexico. “This is a wishful thinking. More and more countries have realized the true face of the United States and understood that associating themselves with the United States will not bring them any benefit,” said Wei Jianguo.