Date
15 December 2018
The scale of the trade war between the United States and China is 20 percent larger than commonly reported, according to the Global Trade Alert report. Photo: Reuters
The scale of the trade war between the United States and China is 20 percent larger than commonly reported, according to the Global Trade Alert report. Photo: Reuters

US trade curbs have hit US$369 billion of China exports: monitor

US trade restrictions have hit a total of US$369 billion of Chinese exports this year, much higher than the US$278 billion of goods impacted by tariffs alone, Reuters says, citing a regular monitoring report of G20 trade restrictions.

The Global Trade Alert report, produced by Simon Evenett and Johannes Fritz at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland, said most media reports of US President Donald Trump’s trade policies focused on YS$278 billion of tariff increases.

“However, this year has also seen US$47 billion of Chinese good shipments to the United States targeted by other US trade distortions. Furthermore, over US$43 billion of Chinese exports have been caught up in other US trade distortions that affect multiple countries,” the report said.

“In fact, a total of US$369 billion of Chinese exports have faced new US trade distortions this year. Once the full range of US trade distortions is taken into account, a third more Chinese exports are implicated in this year’s trade war.”

At the same time, Chinese tariff retaliation affected US$87.5 billion of US goods exports this year.

Taking into account both sides, the scale of the trade war is 20 percent larger than commonly reported, the report said.

Global Trade Alert has cataloged global trade policies since 2009 to gauge trends in protectionism, following a pledge by the G20 group of countries in November 2008 not to resort to trade protectionism as a response to the financial crisis.

In 2017, 70 percent of Chinese exports to the US and US exports to China faced some kind of trade barrier. Following this year’s escalation, 87 percent of Chinese exports and 92 percent of US exports are affected.

But still, the tension between Washington and Beijing accounted for only a small proportion of the total new trade restrictions imposed by G20 countries this year.

“Trade hit by tariff hikes on Sino-US commerce amounts to just 22 percent of global trade hit this year by import distortions,” the report said.

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