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CHINADAILY Editorial

Tariffs to repay blow if US makes good on threat: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-08-05 19:21

The tariffs Beijing announced it would slap on US imports on Friday was a response to Washington's threat to raise its previously announced pending tariffs of 10 percent to 25 percent on Chinese imports worth $200 billion.

If, when and how China's tariffs – which range from 5 percent to as high as 25 percent on $60 billion worth of US imports – will be implemented depends on if and how the United States proceeds with its tariff threat.

True, the blow Beijing will punch in return is not as heavy as the one Washington is proposing. However, it is not a matter of whose blow is heavier. It is a matter of where the blow is struck. That is what China has taken into consideration in deciding its response.

The differentiated tariffs it has announced that it will retaliate with mean that Chinese enterprises and residents will not suffer too much because of the tariffs, and the global supply chains will not be too seriously affected.

In the face of the bullying of the Donald Trump administration, Beijing must remain sober-minded and never let emotion override reason when deciding how to respond to the US administration's unreasonable and insensible self-promoting hullabaloo.

China has long insisted that trade disputes should be settled through talks and a trade war is naturally the last thing it wants. That is why it has reiterated on different occasions that it will not fire the first shot. And why it has repeated time and again that it will always keep the door open for negotiations.

But that does not mean that China is afraid of a trade war and it will acquiesce to the US' protection racket. Given China's huge market, its systemic advantage of being able to concentrate resources on big projects, its people's tenacity in enduring hardships and its steadiness in implementing reform and opening-up policies, the country can survive a trade war.

However, the Chinese authorities still consider the retaliatory tariffs as a means not the end. As an old Chinese saying goes, it is not courteous to not repay a blow from a rival.

The announcement that Beijing will retaliate if necessary is a reminder to Washington that China will never buy its threats but it is willing to negotiate on an equal footing.

Unless it gives up its arrogant trade posture, the US should not expect any concession from China.

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