U.S. trade restrictions have hit $369 billion of Chinese exports: monitoring group By Reuters

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© Reuters. The label reading “Made in China” on a sweatshirt is seen over another shirt with a U.S. flag at a souvenir stand in Boston

GENEVA (Reuters) – U.S. trade restrictions have hit a total of $369 billion of Chinese exports this year, much higher than the $278 billion of goods impacted by tariffs alone, a regular monitoring report of G20 trade restrictions said on Thursday.

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 U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade policies focused on $278 billion of tariff increases.

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

“In fact a total of $369 billion of Chinese exports have faced new US trade distortions this year. Once the full range of U.S. 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 $87.5 billion of U.S. 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 United States and U.S. exports to China faced some kind of trade barrier. Following this year’s escalation, 87 percent of Chinese exports and 92 percent of U.S. 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-U.S. commerce amounts to just 22 percent of global trade hit this year by import distortions,” the report said.

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