China

Trade tariffs: Chinese media in Trump 'fools build walls' jibe

US farmer loads soybeans onto lorry - 13 June Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Soybeans are among US exports to be hit by Chinese retaliatory tariffs

Chinese media have mocked US President Donald Trump over plans to impose 25% tariffs on $50bn worth of Chinese goods, saying "wise men build bridges but fools build walls".

Mr Trump announced the tariffs on Friday, accusing Beijing of intellectual copyright theft.

China retaliated, saying it would impose an additional 25% tariff on 659 US goods worth $50bn.

Stock markets fell after the announcements amid fear of a trade war.

The US had earlier warned that it will impose even more tariffs should China retaliate.

Mr Trump said the tariffs were "essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs."

The Chinese product lines that have been hit range from aircraft tyres to turbines and commercial dishwashers.

State-controlled media made a concerted attack on the new US measures.

"Following the path of expanding and opening up is China's best response to the trade dispute between China and the United States, and is also the responsibility that major countries should have to the world," said an editorial in Xinhua news agency.

"The wise man builds bridges, the fool builds walls," it commented.

Social media users were quick to make light of the comment, with many making reference to the Great Wall of China.

Elsewhere official Communist Party newspaper the People's Daily condemned what it described as the US administration's "obsession with playing the disgraceful role of global economic disruptor".

The Global Times, meanwhile, said Mr Trump was disrupting the world order to appeal to voters who think he's fighting for them.

However, the English-language China Daily said it hoped the worst could still be avoided.

"Given the frequent flip-flopping of the Donald Trump administration, it is still too early to conclude that a trade war will start," it said.

The media response came as China announced tariffs on $34bn of US goods including agricultural products, cars and marine products which will also take effect from 6 July.

Tariffs on other US goods will be announced at a later date, Xinhua said.

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Media captionHow hogs and Harleys became weapons in a looming trade war.

US tariffs that affect more than 800 Chinese products worth $34bn in annual trade are due to come into effect on 6 July.

The White House said it would consult on tariffs on the other $16bn of products, and would apply these later.

The US wants China to stop practices that allegedly encourage transfer of intellectual property - design and product ideas - to Chinese companies, such as requirements that foreign firms share ownership with local partners to access the Chinese market.

However, many economists and businesses in the US say the tariffs are likely to hurt some of the sectors the administration is trying to protect, which depend on China for parts or assembly.

The US announced plans for tariffs this spring, after an investigation into China's intellectual property practices.

It published a draft list of about 1,300 Chinese products slated for tariffs in April. The list released on Friday is slightly shorter, incorporating feedback and criticism received in the ensuing weeks.

The plans have elicited a mixed political reaction, drawing praise from Democrats and opposition from Republicans, who typically favour free trade policies.

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