China imposes equal tariffs on United States imports in retaliation

Gladys Abbott
June 19, 2018

The Trump administration said on Friday that the USA would impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products, provoking a direct retaliation from Beijing and escalating a what is now definitely a "trade war" between the world's two largest economies.

In Beijing on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang repeated earlier warnings that all trade talks between China and the United States would be void if Washington imposed trade sanctions.

The Chinese commerce ministry issued a statement condemning the Trump administration's most recent tariffs, stating its intent to match all tariffs with equal restrictions on USA trade in a tit-for-tat battle over trade. But the White House announced at the end of May that the tariffs would move forward despite the deal. "Those are crown jewels for this country", Trump said. He said that China does not seek a trade war.

Washington has completed a second list of possible tariffs on another $100 billion in Chinese goods, in the expectation that China will respond to the initial U.S. tariff list in kind, sources said. They steal over $300 billion worth of technology a year. Tariffs on $34 billion of goods will take effect from July 6, according to Reuters.

China responded to US tariffs announced Friday morning with a promise to impose reciprocal levies on a range of American products, including agricultural products, cars and seafood.

In this January 30, 2018, file photo, a ship to shore crane loads two shipping containers together onto a vessel at the Georgia Ports Authority's Port of Savannah in Savannah, Ga.

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"We just announced very big tariffs today on China because China has been, you know, look, he is my friend, President Xi, he is a great man and a wonderful guy but at some point, we have to straighten it out". He added: "Our hope is that it doesn't lead to a rash reaction from China".

Trump recently hit United States allies including the European Union, Canada, and Mexico with tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The statement said the US step on Friday violated "the relevant rules of the World Trade Organization" and went against a consensus reached in bilateral economic and trade agreements.

The ministry statement gave no details. Beijing immediately said it will place 25 percent tariffs on 106 American goods worth $50 billion.

The administration is leaving the door open to further tariffs on agricultural goods and other products. But he signaled that whatever the implications, "I have to do what I have to do" to address the trade imbalance.

American businesses, however, are anxious that rising trade tensions will hurt US economic growth. Additional investment restrictions and export controls against China are also planned for later this month. "China is our real trade enemy, and their theft of intellectual property and their refusal to let our companies compete fairly threatens millions of future American jobs", Schumer said in a statement on Friday.

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