Lobbying on the Trade War with China

Given President Trump’s most recent tariffs on Chinese imports, the lobbying world is stirring. While China has already retaliated with their own tariffs, they have also chosen to ask American companies operating in China to lobby the U.S. government to “protect their interests,” according to Reuters. Beijing has threatened 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Gao Feng, China’s commerce ministry spokesman said, “we hope U.S. firms can do more to lobby the U.S. government, and work hard to defend their own interests.”

Since the trade disputes began between the U.S. and China, Chinese currency has fallen and Beijing has cut its forecast for soybean imports. South Korea also warned that “its exports of high-tech components could be hurt as the U.S.-China trade dispute escalates.” China imports significantly less U.S. goods than it exports, “so to retaliate it might increase the size of the tariffs it imposes” or instead, could crack down on U.S. businesses operating in China.

At this point, Gao said no negotiations had been scheduled, as “the precondition for negotiations is trust.” China has not announced how it will retaliate, but American businesses are at risk. A survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai found that “most U.S. businesses operating in China oppose the use of tariffs in retaliation for the challenges they face, from an uneven playing field to poor protection of intellectual property rights.”

Japan and South Korea are also very vulnerable. One risk is that “intermediate goods,” such as those used in home appliances, computers and communications devices, could be “caught in the crossfire.” South Korea is also a major auto producing country, and those goods are set to have increased tariffs as well.

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