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Trade War

Chinese net users call for US boycott over trade clash

Comments suggest shunning everything from iPhones to Starbucks

South Korea's Lotte was forced to shutter many of its supermarkets in China due to a Seoul-Beijing dispute over missile defense.   © Reuters

CHONGQING, China -- Internet users in China are increasingly calling for a boycott of U.S. products in response to President Donald Trump's decision to target their country with tariffs.

Since Trump announced plans in late March to impose levies on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, calls for fighting back have been spreading on the Weibo microblogging platform. The online commenters are not alone: The state-backed English-language tabloid Global Times stressed in a late March editorial that China could easily boycott American soybeans.

From Apple iPhones to General Motors cars, all sorts of potential targets have been suggested. U.S. retailers like Starbucks Coffee and Walmart have also been blasted online.

For now, there has been no indication that actual sales have been affected. But the potential impact of Chinese boycotting has been clear since last year, when trade and business exchanges with South Korea slumped after Seoul deployed a U.S. missile defense system despite Beijing's vehement objections.

South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group was forced to temporarily shutter most of its supermarkets in China for much of the year. Hyundai Motors's sales in China were roughly cut in half. 

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