China says tariff threat ‘justified’

This photo taken on August 2, 2018 shows workers at a swimwear factory in Yinglin town in Jinjiang, in China's eastern Fujian Province. China's garments industry is expected to be affected with the escalating US-China trade war. (AFP photo)
Updated 05 August 2018
0

China says tariff threat ‘justified’

  • China and the US have been embroiled for months in a trade conflict that has threatened to hurt consumers in both countries
  • Washington claims that China’s export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of US technological know-how

SINGAPORE: China’s foreign minister said on Saturday that his country’s threat to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion of US goods in an escalating trade dispute was “fully justified.”

Beijing threatened on Friday to bring in the levies on products ranging from beef to condoms, after US President Donald Trump’s administration upped the ante in its plans for additional tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion.

Washington suggested the rate on the proposed extra tariffs could be increased from 10 to 25 percent.

China and the US have been embroiled for months in a trade conflict that has threatened to hurt consumers in both countries.

Washington claims that China’s export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of US technological know-how.

Speaking on the sidelines of a security forum in Singapore, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China’s threat of retaliatory tariffs was “fully justified and necessary.”

“These are measures taken out of the consideration for upholding the interests of the Chinese people,” he said, speaking through a translator.

He said the move was also aimed at upholding the “global free trade regime.” 

Wang also hit back at comments by top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who ridiculed China’s tariff threat as “weak” and said the world’s second-largest economy was in significant “trouble.”

“As to whether China’s economy is doing well or not, I think it is all too clear to the whole international community,” Wang said.

In early July, the US imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, with another $16 billion to be targeted in coming weeks, sparking retaliatory measures from China. Days later, Washington unveiled a list of another $200 billion in Chinese goods.

But Trump raised the stakes this week with a threat to lift the tariff rate.

China has said that new duties will be applied only if Washington pulls the trigger on its new tariffs.

Decoder

China-US Trade War

In early July, the US imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, with another $16 billion to be targeted in coming weeks, sparking retaliatory measures from China. Days later, Washington unveiled a list of another $200 billion in Chinese goods that would be hit with 10 percent import duties.


UK’s Quercus pulls plug on $570 mln Iran solar plant as sanctions bite

Updated 14 August 2018
0

UK’s Quercus pulls plug on $570 mln Iran solar plant as sanctions bite

  • Quercus said it will halt the construction of a 500 million euro ($570 million) solar power plant in Iran
  • Iran has been trying to increase the share of renewable-produced electricity in its energy mix

OSLO: A British renewable energy investor Quercus said it will halt the construction of a 500 million euro ($570 million) solar power plant in Iran due to recently imposed US sanctions on Tehran.
The solar plant in Iran would have been the first renewable energy investment outside Europe by Quercus and the world’s sixth largest, with a 600 megawatt (MW) capacity.
Iran has been trying to increase the share of renewable-produced electricity in its energy mix, partly due to air pollution and to meet international commitments, hoping to have about 5 gigawatt in renewables installed by 2022.
In June, before the US-imposed sanctions, more than 250 companies had signed agreements to add and sell power from about 4 gigawatt of new renewables in the country, which has only 602 MW installed, Iranian energy ministry data showed.
Washington reimposed sanctions last week after pulling out of a 2015 international deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions.
US president Donald Trump has also threatened to penalize companies that continue to operate in Iran, which led banks and many companies around the world to scale back their dealings with Tehran.
“Following the US sanctions on Iran, we have decided to cease all activities in the country, including our 600 MW project. We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Quercus chief executive Diego Biasi said in an email on Tuesday.
The firm will continue to monitor the situation closely, said Biasi, who declined to comment further.
Last year Quercus said it would set up a project company and sell shares via a private placement after attracting interest from private and institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds.
Construction was expected to take three years, with each 100 MW standalone lot becoming operational and connecting to the grid every six months.

SANCTIONS BITE
Independently-owned Quercus has a portfolio of around 28 renewable energy plants and 235 MW of installed capacity.
The firm, founded by Biasi and Simone Borla in 2010, controls five investment funds and has a network of “highly regarded external partners,” it says on its website.
The 600 MW plant it aimed to construct in Iran would be the firm’s largest investment. Quercus declined to comment on the details of its decision to cease the plan and on any financial losses that could result from it.
Fearing the consequences of the US embargo, a string of European companies have recently announced they would scale back their business in Iran.
On Tuesday, German engineering group Bilfinger, said it did not plan to sign any new business in the country, while automotive supplier Duerr on Aug. 11 said it had halted activities in Iran.
Another project, planned by Norway’s Saga Energy, which said last October it aimed to build 2 GW of new solar energy capacity in Iran and to start construction by the end of 2018, has also stalled.
Saga Energy’s chief of operations Rune Haaland told Reuters it was still working on getting the funding, which is more complicated since recent developments, and although it aimed to push on with its plans, construction could be delayed. ($1 = 0.8773 euros)