China: Escalation in trade relations with the US

5 min

The United States announced a certain number of protectionist measures over the past three weeks. One is an import tariff of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. Some major trading partners (Canada, Mexico, EU) have been exempted for now, with the notable exception of China. Two is a 25% tariff on USD60bn worth of Chinese exports. The list of sectors concerned should be revealed shortly. We estimated that these moves could cost China USD15bn in export losses. China retaliated with a 25% tariff on USD3bn worth of U.S. exports including wine, pork and steel. U.S. exporters could lose USD700mn. Going forward, the U.S. could target the Chinese electronic, electrical and textile sectors as these are the largest contributors of its deficit with China. China could focus on agrifood where it has its largest deficit with the U.S. Moreover, we may see Chinese measures on financial services and investment flows. For now, the overall impact on economic growth in China would be relatively moderate. We expect real GDP to grow by +6.5% in 2018 (after +6.9% in 2017).