Overall, the nation’s farmers shipped almost $20 billion of goods to China in 2017.
Trump announced plans for tariffs on a slew of products from China this week with a value of at least $50 billion, the latest in a string of tariffs the White House has described as key to protecting the USA economy.
Mr Xi has a lot at stake in his next move.
Speaking at a daily news briefing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reiterated that China would hit back if needed.
“But now it’s looking more like a true trade war”, Mr Bernstein said.
There is little doubt Trump wants that to change. “It is very clear that they are going to build a naval base there”.
Beijing considers Taiwan a province of China and is wary of any attempt for the self-ruled island to be officially recognized internationally.
Sectors subject to Mr Trump’s tariffs include aerospace, information and communication technology and machinery: all areas that Mr Xi’s government has identified as key to China’s development strategy.
“We don’t want a trade war”, he said. The new law encourages official visits at all levels between Taiwan and the US. He also issued a third proclamation exempting Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, EU member countries and South Korea from the tariffs through May 1, “pending discussions of satisfactory long-term alternative means to address the threatened impairment to USA national security”.
An irked Beijing has called on Washington to “correct its mistake”.
Mr Xi has a plethora of tools to deploy.
“China’s direct exports to the United States are not big”.
In testimony Wednesday before the House Ways and Means Committee, Robert E. Lighthizer, the USA trade representative, called China’s intellectual property rights practices “an assault” on American high-technology industries. While foreign holdings have been rising since a Bond Connect with Hong Kong was set up, they are still relatively small, at less than 2 percent of the $11 trillion market – the world’s third largest – as of February.
If China’s complaint survives a potential appeal, it would move a step closer to retaliatory sanctions on US trade, although the two sides would first have to settle on the value of sanctions, which would involve a round of legal argument.
Even so, some analysts think China will wave the white flag.
The United States has flouted trade rules with an inquiry into intellectual property and China will defend its interests, Vice Premier Liu He told US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a telephone call on Saturday, Chinese state media reported. “These actions could undercut our potential to increase exports to China following the country’s stated goal to move to a 10 percent ethanol blend by 2020, and would be a major barrier to increased trade”.
“President Trump may push other countries to take sides, resulting in a divided world”, he said.
“The United States has a deep and abiding interest in cross-Strait peace and stability”, Justin Higgins added. “Globalisation has untethered multinationals from having to look after the United States, and China knows that”.