The U.S. and China seem to be on the verge of a costly trade war.Most recently, the Trump administration announced that Chinese shipments of aluminum foil will now face a hefty import tax, a decision that is intended to offset what the administration believes are unfair Chinese subsidies of its aluminum industry.
What this means in practice is that a handful of Chinese companies will now face “countervailing duties” ranging from 17 percent to 81 percent on their exports of aluminum to the U.S.
And a trade war may also be brewing between the U.S. and several Asian countries in the solar industry.It is not unusual for the U.S. to punish businesses it deems to be “cheating” on global trade rules, and one should not be too quick to judge any specific punitive measure taken. But the fear is that we are now on a slippery slope toward a trade war, as China is certain to respond by taxing U.S. sales of goods in China.
This latest action comes on the heels of a breakdown in talks between the two countries over trade last month. More generally it is consistent with President Donald Trump repeated promises to protect U.S. companies from what he perceives to be unfair competition from China. In addition, there is a strong chance that the administration will soon enact additional policies to limit the entry of Chinese products into U.S.
Chinese textile firms are increasingly using North Korean factories to take advantage of cheaper labour across the border, traders and businesses in the border city of Dandong told Reuters.The clothes made in North Korea are labelled “Made in China” and exported across the world, they said.
Using North Korea to produce cheap clothes for sale around the globe shows that for every door that is closed by ever-tightening United Nations (UN) sanctions another one may open. The UN sanctions, introduced to punish North Korea for its missile and nuclear programs, do not include any bans on textile exports.
“We take orders from all over the world,” said one Korean-Chinese businessman in Dandong, the Chinese border city where the majority of North Korea trade passes through. Like many people Reuters interviewed for this story, he spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Dozens of clothing agents operate in Dandong, acting as go-betweens for Chinese clothing suppliers and buyers from the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Russia, the businessman said. “We will ask the Chinese suppliers who work with us if they plan on being open with their client — sometimes the final buyer won’t realise their clothes are being made in North Korea.It’s extremely sensitive,” he said.
A month after goods and services tax (GST) roll-out, a sudden deluge of gold imports from free trade partner South Korea has alarmed New Delhi. Swinging into action, the government is examining several options, including levy of safeguard duty on gold imports from South Korea to plug the route. Officials brainstormed on the matter through Tuesday, it is learnt. Among others, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia met Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia to assess the situation.
In July itself, 8,400 kg of gold, essentially in coins, came to the country from South Korea, compared to almost nil last year in the same month. Sources said that traders may be exploiting the favourable reduction in tax incidence under GST by routing imports through Seoul, to take advantage of the India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the free trade pact.
”There is a sharp rise in gold imports after GST implementation, only from South Korea. We are looking at all options available to us as this is a big cause of concern. Before July, we were not getting gold coins or gold medallions, which we are getting now,” said a senior government official. He added that the FTA route should not be misused as it is going to impact the local domestic market. The ministry of finance recently notified rules under the India-Korea FTA, empowering the Director General of Safeguards to slap duty on such imports.
import from Korea is exempted from customs duty under the 2009 agreement, and the importer only has to pay 3 per cent IGST. Until June, the excise duty on gold and jewellery was 12.5 per cent