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Trade war looms as China now slaps duties on US goods

As the China-US trade war spiralled, Beijing appeared to be trying to minimise the impact on its own economy by picking American products that can be replaced by imports from other suppliers such as Brazil or Australia.

business Updated: Jun 16, 2018 21:10 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China US trade war,China tariffs,Tariffs on US products
Flags of US and China are placed for a meeting between Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and China's Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu at the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing, China.(Reuters File Photo)

China on Saturday announced that it will impose an additional 25% tariff on 659 US products worth over $50 billion, warning that it will “fight back forcefully” against Washington imposing duties on Chinese goods.

Beijing’s quick response came after Washington on Friday unveiled plans to impose additional 25% tariffs on Chinese goods worth around $ 50.

“China has unveiled a list of products from the United States that will be subject to additional tariffs in response to US announcement to impose additional duties on Chinese imports,” the official news agency, Xinhua announced.

“Approved by the State Council (China’s cabinet), the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has decided to impose additional duties of 25% on 659 items of US products worth about $ 50 billion,” the report said.

On Friday, President Donald Trump announced additional tariffs of 25% on Chinese imports worth approximately $ 50 billion. “From July 6, additional tariffs will be levied on some $ 34 billion worth of Chinese products. Meanwhile, the other $ 16 billion of Chinese products will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process,” the Trump administration said.

An official in charge of China’s Office of the Customs Tariff Commission said the additional tariffs targeting Chinese goods, once imposed, would “substantially change the trade conditions of these goods, and affect relevant producers and trade companies as well as the production and operation of the upstream and downstream industries”.

“The US move violates the relevant rules of the World Trade Organisation, goes against the consensus already reached in bilateral economic and trade consultations, seriously infringes upon the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese side and undermines the interests of China and its people,” an official Chinese statement said. “The Chinese side firmly opposes that”.

“China, a responsible and reliable major trading nation, hates to be engaged in a trade war with the United States, knowing that it would be a lose-lose game for both,” the Xinhua news agency said a in a separate commentary.

“But this does not mean that Beijing is going to sit quietly in the face of Washington’s planned unilateral tariffs. China has to fight back forcefully so as to safeguard the interests of the nation and its people. This is also a clear-cut demonstration of China’s firm stance to uphold the rules-based multilateral trading system,” the commentary added.

The confrontation comes as signs emerge that China’s drive to cut domestic debt is taking a toll on economic growth. Data this week showed investment sagging, while surging exports -- threatened by the US trade spat -- have provided a boost in recent months.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Jun 16, 2018 08:09 IST