China hits back at US with 25 per cent tariff hike on American products

U.S. President Donald Trump With China's President Xi Jinping
U.S. President Donald Trump With China’s President Xi Jinping

BEIJING: In a retaliatory measure, China today decided to impose new tariffs of 25 per cent worth USD 50 billion on 106 American products, including aircraft and cars, as the world’s two largest economies edged closer towards an all-out trade war.

The move comes after the Trump administration yesterday published a list of about 1,300 Chinese exports that could be targeted for tariffs.

The Chinese Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, in a retaliatory measure, decided to impose additional tariff of 25 per cent on 106 items of products fewer than 14 categories worth USD 50 billion, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

The date of implementation will depend on when the US government imposes the tariffs on Chinese products, it said.

“Disregarding strong representations by China, the US announced the tariff proposals that are completely unfounded, a typical unilateralist and protectionist practice that China strongly condemns and firmly opposes,” China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said today.

The MOC said the US published the list in disregard of the mutually-beneficial and win-win nature of the China-US commercial cooperation in the past 40 years, the appeal of the Chinese and American business communities and the interests of consumers, it said.

The move went against the interests of China, the US and the world economy, violating the basic principles and spirit of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it said.

The US plans to apply the tariffs to about USD 50 billion worth of goods to punish China for its alleged theft of trade secrets, including software, patents and other technology.

US President Donald Trump is demanding China to cut down USD 375 billion trade deficit by USD 100 billion in about a month.

His move sparked concerns over a trade war between the two largest economies of the world.

China has already slapped tariffs on 128 US products, including wine and pork, totaling to USD 3 billion in retaliation to Trump’s move to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum.

China plans to immediately bring relevant US practice to the dispute settlement body of the WTO, and is ready to take countermeasures on US products with equal force, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

“We have the confidence and ability to respond to any US trade protectionist measures,” the MOC said.

Yesterday, another Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media that China will not shy away from a trade war and fight till the end.

“We keep reiterating that China won’t initiate a trade war, and a trade war is the last thing we want. However, we will not be afraid of it. If someone is bent on waging it and even closing in on our doorstep, then we will keep them company and let’s see who last to the end,” he said.

Trump signed a memorandum on March 22 that could impose tariffs on Chinese imports and restrictions on Chinese investment in the US.

The memorandum is based on a Section 301 investigation, launched by the Trump administration in August 2017, into alleged Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices. PTI