Trade War Escalates as China Seeks Sanctions

The U.S.-Sino trade war continued to escalate this week, pushing markets lower and sending traders to safe-haven assets. Americans for Free Trade, a coalition on Washington has been formed by more than 60 U.S. industry groups to fight President Trump and his fervor for implementing even more tariffs in the coming months. Though Trump’s tariffs were started with the specific goal of creating more U.S. jobs, many industries are now facing layoffs and rising costs.

Another $200 billion of tariffs are currently awaiting implementation, and there are threats of further tariffs which could cover as much as all Chinese imports to the United States. On Wednesday President Trump announced that he was “ready to go” with another $267 billion of Chinese tariffs “if he wants.” China replied to these threats by seeking sanctions from the World Trade Organization (WTO), citing Washington’s non-compliance with a ruling over its dumping duties. China’s charge against the U.S. is likely to take many years of legal fighting before sanctions can be approved, but China will try to expedite the process by seeking special authorization at a meeting on September 21. China originally launched the complaint in 2013. Beijing has also promised further retaliation if the U.S. tariffs continue to expand.

Asian markets were broadly lower on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.31 percent as of 1:23 p.m. HK/SIN. The Shanghai Composite was down 0.37 percent and the Shenzhen Composite was down 0.46 percent. South Korea’s Kopsi shed 0.22 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was 0.20 percent lower. The trouble in Asia came after a higher close on Wall Street for all three major indexes.

Gold prices were also lower on Wednesday as the trade war sent traders flocking to the U.S. dollar. The precious metal has been stuck in a $20 price range for the past two weeks, with no technical breakouts occurring, and traders practicing patience as they wait for the September Federal Reserve announcement, which could boost the dollar further, a move which would further lower the price of gold. Gold was trading down 0.26 percent to $1199.10 per ounce in the early afternoon in Asia.

Sara Patterson has a Master’s Degree in political science and enjoys analyzing both current events and the international markets to get a fuller perspective of the currency market. Before turning to financial writing, she taught English writing skills to high-school age students. Sara’s work has been published on various financial and Forex blogs.