Key takeaways from the interview:
The US attacks: “The Trump administration plans to introduce tariffs on 200 billion dollars’ worth of Chinese goods. This is a large figure – initially, the plan was to fix it at 50 billion. The tariffs are applied to a broad list of goods that are imported by the US – from bicycles to high-tech products. So they are aimed at the core of Chinese manufacturing exports.”
China’s reaction: “We expect China to respond immediately. They have already announced their own tariffs on 60 billion dollars’ worth of goods. But they might also try to damage or disrupt the very complex and global US supply chain, given China’s key position in many of these processes.”
China’s currency: “The weakening currency is worrying the Chinese government, as the economy is slowing down. The government and the central bank are therefore supporting the renminbi with tighter foreign exchange measures.”
Is it a trade war? “In the case of the US and China we could call it a bilateral trade war. In all the other cases, be it between the US and Mexico, the US and Canada or the US and Europe, I would talk about trade quarrels. We stick to our forecast that a multilateral trade war on a global scale has only a probability of 25 per cent.”
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