China Set To Weather Sanctions

SHANGHAI -- Judging by the calm shrugs of most Chinese-listed enterprises on Monday, any shots fired in anger in the Sino-U.S. trade dispute are likely to fly harmlessly above their heads.

Careful to protect U.S. consumers in any trade war, Washington appears to have shielded China's most important corporate sector too, brokers and company officials said.

On the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets, companies making bicycles and gift stationery -- two products on a U.S. hit-list of Chinese exports -- were likely to be worst hit if the two sides cannot patch up their quarrel before a Feb. 26 deadline, brokers said.

The United States has threatened 100 percent tariffs on $1.08 billion of Chinese goods and Beijing has promised tit-for-tat sanctions, without giving a figure.

Plastic articles, answering machines and cellular phones, sporting goods and wooden articles are also on the U.S. list.

Paul Vibert, Shanghai-based analyst for Barings Securities, said any damage to listed firms would be "very, very minimal."

"The impact won't be very big," said Sun Gongshe, an executive at Shanghai Wingsung Stationery Co., one of China's biggest producers of writing instruments.

Sun said sales to the United States accounted for less than 2 percent of exports. In turn, exports accounted for only 25 percent of sales.