Chinese media has warned that if President-elect Donald Trump follows through on his campaign pledge to impose stiff tariffs on their imports, asserting that their country will retaliate with measures that will hurt American industries.
Throughout the 2016 presidential race, Trump railed against China, accusing the Asian superpower of using unfair practices to get an edge in the global economy.
“We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country,” Trump said of the U.S. trade deficits with the Communist nation in May, according to Politico. “It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.”
The President-elect has vowed to label China a currency manipulator and slap 45 percent tariffs on their imports within his first day in office. Now that the business mogul has been elected, Chinese media has fired back that the U.S. would come to regret such aggressive maneuvers.
On Nov. 14, the Communist-run newspaper Global Times published an editorial warning that China would retaliate against any attempts to disrupt their trade, The Guardian reports.
“If Trump wrecks Sino-US trade, a number of U.S. industries will be impaired. Finally the new president will be condemned for his recklessness, ignorance and incompetence,” the newspaper stated.
The editorial warned that if Trump decides to make China an economic enemy, then the Asian superpower will punish major U.S. industries that conduct crucial business in their country.
“A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus,” the newspaper stated. “U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S.”
On Nov. 13, the President-elect spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping over the phone. Trump’s White House transition team issued a statement describing the conversation as productive, CNN reports.
“President-elect Trump stated that he believes the two leaders will have one of the strongest relationships for both countries moving forward,” the statement asserted.
While Trump has repeatedly threatened China economically, Chinese media has previously praised the business mogul’s disinterest in checking their aggression in the South China Sea, making him a more attractive ally for the Communist nation than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Unlike traditional idealistic politicians, who tend to place ideological values, such as democracy and human rights, as the priority of their diplomacy, Trump has more realistic interests in mind,” the Global Times wrote in a previous editorial.
China and the U.S. share $650 billion in trade annually. Veteran U.S. diplomat Paul Haenle, who currently resides in Beijing, warned that imposing strict tariffs on China could result in a trade war that will damage the U.S. economy.
“If [Trump] follows through on a 45% trade tariff then I think it will be damaging to our own interests and we will have fallout that will affect our own companies and our own economy and it won’t be effective,” Haenle said. “It will not achieve what he is setting out to achieve. So from that standpoint he is going to have to moderate some of that rhetoric as he puts together actual concrete policies.”
Hanele added that Chinese officials suspect that Trump “will become more realistic and more pragmatic once he is in the position where he has to govern.”