Published: Tue, July 17, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

US hits back with WTO challenge against Canada's retaliatory tariffs

US hits back with WTO challenge against Canada's retaliatory tariffs

The EU and USA are also involved in an exchange of tariff sanctions.

"Uncertainty about the scale and composition of USA tariffs on China's exports is already dampening business confidence and delaying investment", Louis Kuijs, the head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics, said in a note.

The world's second-biggest economy expanded 6.7 percent in April-June, down from 6.8 percent in the first quarter and in line with a forecasts in an AFP survey of economists.

Nonetheless, European officials suggest that Trump, who has also targeted Europe with tariffs, has created a widow of opportunity to show that EU-China relations can be a bulwark for global trade.

He expects China's consumer prices to maintain mild growth in the second half, as the prices of food items including pork and cooking oil, likely to be pushed up by more expensive imported soybeans, are still relatively low.

He added: "China does not want a trade war with the US". In Asian trading, MSCI's index of Asia Pacific shares except for Japan fell 0.36%, while mainland Chinese stocks, already among the world's worst performing this year, fell 0.6%.

But China and the European Union jointly denounced "protectionism and unilateralism" in a statement Monday and unveiled plans to form a working group tasked with helping the WTO run more smoothly.

The Chinese economy is holding up well despite the tariffs, analysts say.

Mr. Trump's trade chief, Robert Lighthizer, announced five parallel WTO complaints Monday against Canada, the European Union, China, Mexico and Turkey - firing another salvo in a global trade war that has seen the us target both its rivals and its closest allies. That threat came only days after both countries slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on $34bn worth of each other's goods.

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Manufacturing activity also slowed in June, as did output at factories and workshops.

"Europe and China, America and Russian Federation, today in Beijing and in Helsinki, are jointly responsible for improving the world order, not for destroying it", Tusk said in a separate tweet.

"If the situation gets worse a lot faster than what we expect I do think Chinese authorities need to beef up supportive measures, both fiscal and monetary".

"The EIU is more concerned about slowing domestic demand within China's economy, with investment persistently weak and consumption also having slowed, and these are much more important drivers of growth than exports", he said in a research note. For the first half of this year, Chinese exports to the USA were 13.6% higher. Nonetheless, the growth was still higher than the government's annual target of around 6.5 percent.

But that data also includes government spending and is pushed up when net exports are a negative factor as they have been this year.

Consumption has continued to play a more prominent role in driving growth in H1, with final consumption contributing 78.5 percent of the economic expansion in January-June, up from 77.8 percent in Q1 and 58.8 percent previous year, according to NBS data.

The domestic job market remained stable in June, with the surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas at 4.8 percent, unchanged from the level in May and down 0.1 percentage point from June a year ago.

Mr Trump sprinkled further spice on the rising rancour in a interview aired yesterday in which he labelled the EU, Russia and China as "foes" of the United States.

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