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China says not afraid, hits back at Trump with $3 billion tariffs of its own

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Washington :China said it doesn’t fear a trade war with the US and announced plans for reciprocal tariffs on $3 billion of imports from the US in the first response to President Donald Trump’s ordering of levies on Chinese metal exports.
China will also pursue legal action against the US at the World Trade Organization in response to the US planned tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, the statement said, and called for dialogue to resolve the dispute.
Earlier, Trump instructed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to impose broader tariffs on at least $50 billion in Chinese imports, as recompense for alleged intellectual property abuses. Officials then went on to roll out temporary exemptions for the metals levies for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and South Korea.
The announcement of broader tariffs directed specifically at China sent equities tumbling. US stock futures traded lower after the S&P 500 Index closed down 2.5%, the biggest drop in six weeks. Stock indexes from Tokyo to Hong Kong tumbled more than 3% and the yen jumped past 105 per dollar for the first time since November 2016.
“The US declared a trade war, but China is acting quite restrained. The list that China has announced appears to be a retaliation, but still it is very measured,” said Li Yong, senior fellow of China Association of International Trade.
The US declared a trade war, but China is acting quite restrained. The list that China has announced appears to be a retaliation, but still it is very measured,” said Li Yong, senior fellow of China Association of International Trade. “The move sends a message that China is able to fight back, but we still want a trade peace instead of a trade war.”
The US will impose 25% duties on targeted Chinese products to compensate for the harm caused to the American economy from China’s policies, according to a fact sheet released by United States Trade Representative (USTR). The proposed product list will include items in aerospace, information and communication technology and machinery. The USTR will announce the proposed list in the next “several days,” according to the fact sheet.
“This has been long in the making,” Trump said, adding that the tariffs could affect as much as $60 billion in goods. “We have a tremendous intellectual property theft situation going on” with China affecting hundreds of billions of dollars in trade each year, he said.
As he signed the tariffs order, Trump told reporters, “This is the first of many.”
“This is an opening gambit by China, signaling that the imposition of tariffs by the US will elicit what Beijing views as a proportionate retaliatory response,”said Eswar Prasad, a former chief of the International Monetary Fund’s China division and now a professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. “China has the ability to inflict significant economic harm on US exporters of certain goods and can also use other overt as well as covert actions such as supply chain disruptions to hurt US manufacturers.”
Policy makers across the world are warning of a brewing trade war that could undermine the broadest global recovery in years. Meanwhile, business groups representing companies ranging from Walmart Inc. to Amazon.com Inc. are warning US tariffs could raise prices for consumers and sideswipe stock prices.
Even central banks, which normally stay above the fray of trade spats, are weighing in. “A number of participants reported about their conversations with business leaders around the country and reported that trade policy has become a concern,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said this week, while cautioning that trade issues haven’t changed the Fed’s outlook. The Bank of England warned Thursday that increased protectionism could have a “significant negative impact” on global growth.
Trump also directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to propose new investment restrictions on Chinese companies within 60 days to safeguard technologies the US views as strategic, said senior White House economic adviser Everett Eissenstat.
The Trump administration is framing the move as a major turning point in US-China relations. It followed a seven-month investigation by USTR into allegations China violates US intellectual property, under the seldom-used section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act. The US concluded China engages in a range of violations, including policies that force American companies to transfer technology and the accessing of trade secrets through hacking, said Eissenstat.
The initial Chinese response may not be as severe as many fear but the conflict could easily escalate, said Robert Manning, an expert on US-China relations at the Atlantic Council in Washington.
“What you’re probably going to get from the Chinese is a low-key response to try to negotiate their way out of it,” Manning said. “I just worry if it gets really ugly, they may go for the nuclear option.”
He says nuclear option would be to sell a “couple hundred billion” in US Treasuries, which would tank markets and raise US interest rates.
Trump tried to make it clear he wasn’t trying to provoke China or its leader, President Xi Jinping.
“I view them as a friend. I have tremendous respect for President Xi,” Trump said. But, the US’s trade deficit with China is “the largest deficit in the history of our world,” he said.
Trump’s actions represent a “seismic shift from an era dating back to Nixon and Kissinger, where we had as a government viewed China in terms of economic engagement,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told reporters on Thursday. “That process has failed.”
“The problem is that with the Chinese in this case, talk is not cheap. It has been very expensive for America,” said Navarro. “Finally the president decided that we needed to move forward.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross predicted a strong stand on trade would bring concessions without escalating into a broader conflict. ‘We will end up negotiating these things rather than fighting over them, in my view,” Ross said.
Before the tariffs become final, there will be a 30-day comment period, the White House said. Trump also directed his officials to pursue a World Trade Organization complaint against China for discriminatory licensing practices.


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Income Tax return processing time to reduce from 63 days to just 1 day

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Mumbai:The Union Cabinet approved an integrated income-tax e-filing and centralised processing centre (CPC) portal, which will reduce the return processing time from 63 days to just one day. The new portal is also expected to process the refunds within one day of filing of tax returns, in huge relief for taxpayers. However, one will have to wait for 18 months to see its launch.

“Earlier, taxpayers would face troubles because of delay in refund processing and the CBDT used to spend a lot of money every year as interest on pending refunds, which will be history now,” Union minister Piyush Goyal told reporters after the Cabinet meeting here.

Last month, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra had said a simplified return form and process would be put in place soon in which the department would process the self-declaration made by the taxpayer. The new Rs 4,241-crore project will incorporate these changes.

 

“This is a laudable initiative and will go a long way to ease tax compliance, and enhanced experience for taxpayers. However, the real success of this will be measured when it brings ease to a common man and is accompanied by changes in the culture of the tax authorities at the operational level,” said Neeru Ahuja, partner, Deloitte India.

Currently, the e-filing portal and the CPC work separately. While e-filing is being managed by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the CPC is run by Infosys.

In the bids invited by the government, Infosys emerged as the lowest bidder and it would develop the ITR-CPC 2.0 project in 18 months from now, Goyal said.

Under the new system, Infosys will handle end-to-end solution — from e-filing to return assessment to refund processing. The CBDT and Infosys would work in a revenue-sharing model, sources in the know said.

Goyal said ramping up scrutiny was not the mandate of the new portal. Currently, about 0.3 per cent of the I-T returns are scrutinised, he said. The system intends to resolve taxpayer grievances as well as tax demands from the CBDT faster and equitably, he said.

“The decision will ensure horizontal equity by processing returns filed by all categories of taxpayers across the country in a consistent, uniform, rule driven, identity blind manner. This will assure fairness in tax treatment to every taxpayer irrespective of their status,” a government release said.

But even under the new ecosystem, only those applications which are clean would have the chance of getting processed in a day, sources said.

About 23 crore I-T returns have been processed, along with Rs 2.62 trillion worth of refunds, till September 2018 cumulatively. Of this, refunds worth Rs 1.83 trillion have been processed in 2018-19, said Goyal.

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Lenders considering resolution plan for Jet Airways: SBI

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Mumbai: State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday said lenders are considering a resolution plan for Jet Airways to ensure long-term viability of the debt-laden company.

The SBI statement comes a day after the crisis-hit airline said discussions were “progressing well” with stakeholders on a comprehensive resolution plan that also contemplates equity infusion and consequent changes in its board of directors.

There are rising concerns over financial health of Jet Airways, whose shares have also taken a beating at stock exchanges.

 

“We would like to state that lenders are considering a restructuring plan under the RBI framework for resolution of stressed assets that would ensure a long-term viability of the company,” SBI said in a statement.

It said the restructuring plan for the cash-strapped airline would need approval from boards of lenders.

“Any such plan would be subject to approval of boards of the lenders and subject to adherence and clearance, if required, from the RBI and/or Sebi (takeover code, ICDR regulations.) and Ministry of Civil Aviation and in compliance with all regulatory prescriptions,” the statement said.

Shares of the airline are trading 4.24 per cent lower at Rs 259.50 apiece on BSE.

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NGT slams Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore as per its 2018 order

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New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) slammed German auto major Volkswagen for not depositing Rs 100 crore in accordance with its November 16, 2018 order and directed it to submit the amount within 24 hours.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel took strong exception to the non-compliance of its order by the automobile giant and asked it to give an undertaking that it will submit the amount by 5 PM Friday.

“Why have you not complied with our order when there is no stay. We will not give you any further time,” the bench, also comprising Justice S P Wangdi, said while asking Volkswagen to submit an affidavit of compliance after deposit.

 

The tribunal deferred the matter for hearing after it was informed that the Supreme Court is also seized of the issue.

On November 16 last year, the tribunal had said that the use of ”cheat device” by Volkswagen in diesel cars in India leads to inference of environmental damage and had asked the German auto major to deposit an interim amount of Rs 100 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

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