If the tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese exports takes effect, the United States will find it hard to replace Chinese products with those from other markets, leading to damage in its industry chain, experts said.
Their comment came after the US government threatened to slap a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese exports, covering almost every item the US buys from China.
Liang Ming, research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Commerce, said facts have proved the impact of trade frictions on China was manageable.
“There has been a misinterpretation that China’s exports highly depend on the US market. In fact, export we make to the US are mainly mobile phones and computers,” Liang said. “If we rule those out, the dependency on the US market is rather low.”
He said according to the ministry’s data, only 15 items made in China are 100 percent dependent on a US market.
However, compared to the relatively low dependency on US market, there are 57 items among the $300 billion worth of Chinese goods that the US absolutely needs to buy from China. China is also the major source of hundreds of products the US buys.
“If the category of China exports subject to extra tariffs expands, the possibility of the US finding substitutes elsewhere falls,” he added. “Even with the extra tariffs, the US still needs to buy from China.”
Liang said since the trade dispute started, China has become the third largest trading partner of US.
“The first half of this year, only US imports increased; but its exports have declined by 1 percent year-on-year. Its foreign trade growth entirely relies on its imports,” he said. “However, China’s exports in the first half of this year were still on the rise.”
Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the International Trade and Economic Cooperation Institute of the Ministry of Commerce, said the intensified trade dispute will only further expose a downfall within the US economy.
He argued the $300 billion Chinese exports were mainly daily consumption products. As the tariffs are enforced, it will stimulate inflation in the US, which has been increasing in recent years faster than the consumer price index.
Zhou Mi, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said imposing tariffs will only put on more risk on the supply side of US’ industry chain.
“China is a developing country while the US is a post-industrialized country. A large part of their materials to make consumer goods and industrial products depends on imports,” Zhou said, adding that tariffs will only leave the US with two choices—buying from China with a higher cost, or buying from other countries with uncertain quantity and quality.