White House criticises China for trade practices, tariff increases

Chinese consumers walk by imported foods zone at a supermarket in Beijing, China, on April 2, 2018.
Chinese consumers walk by imported foods zone at a supermarket in Beijing, China, on April 2, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The White House on Monday (April 2) accused China of distorting global markets and said the country should not target "fairly traded US exports" after Beijing increased tariffs on 128 US products in response to US duties on imports of aluminum and steel.

"China's subsidisation and continued overcapacity is the root cause of the steel crises," White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement.

"Instead of targeting fairly traded US exports, China needs to stop its unfair trading practices which are harming US national security and distorting global markets."

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said he did not see US and China responding to each other’s tariff moves in a tit-for-tat escalation of trade tensions. 

Asked on CNBC television what the US response should be to China’s tariffs on US$3 billion (S$3.9 billion) worth of US fruits, nuts, wine, frozen pork, steel pipe and aluminum scrap, Navarro said:“I don’t think this is going to be an action-response, action-response. That’s not what this should be about, that just leads to escalation spirals.”

Navarro said President Donald Trump was firmly committed to a course of action that would level the trade playing field between the two countries.