August 8, 2018 / 3:05 AM / 12 days ago

Chinese media warns against 'wantonly' rising tariffs in U.S. trade war

BEIJING (Reuters) - Certain people who want to wield the “stick of hegemony” on China with tariffs for their own personal ends will only end up hurting themselves, major Chinese state newspapers said on Wednesday in a unified message against the United States.

FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a signing ceremony during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China's Ministry of Transport in Beijing, China April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

China and the United States are locked in an increasingly bitter trade war, with Washington set to begin collecting 25 percent tariffs on another $16 billion in Chinese goods on Aug. 23, the latest move by President Donald Trump to put pressure on Beijing to negotiate trade concessions.

The latest commentary from state media took a softer line after resorting to personal attacks against Trump earlier in the week, saying China could get through the storm but not directly mentioning the U.S. president.

All China’s main state newspapers published a lengthy commentary by the official Xinhua news agency, entitled “declaration”, on their front pages on Wednesday.

The Chinese people had weathered hardship and crisis in the past through their resilience and were progressing toward prosperity, the commentary said.

The world’s economy was interconnected and nobody could isolate themselves, it said.

“Certain people go against the tide for their own private ends and go against morality; the barrier of tariffs wantonly rise, and the stick of hegemony is raised all around,” the commentary said.

“Although this may for a moment bring preening with delight, it will make it hard to resolve economic imbalances or out of kilter politics and other deep-rooted problems,” it said.

China has already retaliated against the United States with its own tariffs and proposed others if Washington goes ahead with carrying out all its threats.

It has not yet given a date for its previously announced retaliatory tariffs on $16 billion in U.S. goods, which will target commodities such as crude oil, natural gas, coal and some refined oil products.

The latest $16 billion list from the United States will hit semiconductors from China, even though many of the basic chips in these products originate from the United States, Taiwan or South Korea.

John Neuffer, president and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association, said in a statement they were disappointed and puzzled why semiconductors remain on the final tariff list.

“We have made the case to the Administration, in the strongest possible terms, that tariffs imposed on semiconductors imported from China will hurt America’s chipmakers, not China’s, and will do nothing to stop China’s problematic and discriminatory trade practices,” he said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait

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