Having warned U.S. President-elect Donald Trump yesterday, through Chinese state media, that he’ll be met with “big sticks” if he tries to ignite a trade war or further strain ties, China’s central government has reportedly “compiled possible countermeasures” against “well-known U.S. companies or ones that have large Chinese operations.”
As Bloomberg reports, China is prepared to step up its scrutiny of U.S. companies in the event President-elect Donald Trump takes punitive measures against Chinese goods and triggers a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies after he takes office, according to people familiar with the matter.
The options include subjecting well-known U.S. companies or ones that have large Chinese operations to tax or antitrust probes, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Other possible measures include the launch of anti-dumping investigations and scaling back government purchases of American products, according to the people.
The move illustrates how the fallout from escalating tensions between the two nations could spread to companies. Trump has made China a frequent target of his attacks and nominated trade-related officials that the Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper said would form an “iron curtain” of protectionism.
While specific details of China’s options weren’t immediately clear, the retaliatory measures could affect companies related to agriculture, pharmaceuticals, technology and consumer industries, according to the people.
China’s central government compiled the possible countermeasures after collecting opinions from various departments, the people said. The punitive steps would only be carried out if the U.S. acts first and after senior Chinese leaders sign off on them, they said.
Representatives at China’s Ministry of Commerce, National Development and Reform Commission, State Administration of Taxation and General Administration of Customs either didn’t respond or couldn’t immediately comment to Bloomberg queries.
Representatives at Trump’s transition team didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Today's comments were much more directly aimed than yesterday's more prosaic langauge…
“There are flowers around the gate of China’s Ministry of Commerce, but there are also big sticks hidden inside the door — they both await Americans,” the Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper wrote in an editorial Thursday in response to Trump’s plans to nominate lawyer Robert Lighthizer, who has criticized Beijing’s trade practices, as U.S. trade representative.
For now China appears to have fallen off Trump's radar (as maybe he is letting them blow themselves up with massive spikes in Yuan and overnight depoist rates as liquidity freezes), and instead over the past few days the president-elect has been focusing on the ongoing Russian hacking fiasco, crashing the Mexican peso, and slamming “head clown” Chuck Schumer for the mess that is Obamacare.