Trade war looms as China slaps tariffs on 128 US products including pork, wine

Updated on Apr 02, 2018 08:43 PM IST
The tariffs, to take effect on Monday, was released late on Sunday and matches a list of potential tariffs on up to $3 billion in US goods published by China on March 23 .
Imported nuts from the United States are displayed for sale at a supermarket in Beijing, Monday, April 2, 2018. China raised import duties on US pork, fruit and other products Monday in an escalating tariff dispute with President Donald Trump that companies worry might depress global commerce.(AP Photo)
Imported nuts from the United States are displayed for sale at a supermarket in Beijing, Monday, April 2, 2018. China raised import duties on US pork, fruit and other products Monday in an escalating tariff dispute with President Donald Trump that companies worry might depress global commerce.(AP Photo)
Hindustan Times, Beijing | BySutirtho Patranobis

Beijing on Monday imposed tariffs between 15% and 25% on 128 US products including pork, wine and fruits in a “countermeasure” against Washington slapping duties on steel and aluminium from China recently.

The move was meant to “safeguard China’s interests” and balance the losses triggered by the US move, a statement from the ministry of finance said.

China advocates and supports a multilateral trade system, it said, noting that to suspend tariff concession on US imports is a just move to safeguard China’s interests.

The move to remove the concessions was a “countermeasure in response to a previous US move to slap tariffs on steel and aluminium products, it added.

The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council, China’s cabinet, imposed a tariff of 15% on 120 products imported from the US including fruits and related products, and a tariff of 25% on eight items of imports including pork and related products from the country.

The finance ministry noted that despite worldwide objections, the “US administration decided to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminium, with tariffs on imports from countries including China.

Although in violation of WTO rules, the US measure went into effect in March 23, which has severely undermined China’s interests, according to the statement.

Chinese state media said the new tariffs imposed by China add up to some $3 billion, which equals losses caused by the US duties on Chinese goods.

According to a BBC report from Washington, the Donald Trump administration has announced plans for “targeted tariffs for tens of billions of dollars of Chinese imports”.

China doesn’t want a trade war but will not retreat if forced into one, state media reports said.

“It is time for Washington to bid farewell to the fantasy it has long been living in, a delusional world of make-believe whereby it imagines China as an unresponsive nation and tolerant toward US tariffs,” the nationalistic tabloid Global Times said in an editorial on Monday.

“China does not want a trade war, but it will not retreat should one emerge. Today’s announcement is hardly a subtle intimation. Instead, China will show its strength through action as they are on the defensive due to their current level of confidence required to take on all challenges,” it said.

“How ironic that US hypocritical behaviour has become a White House election strategy used to gain domestic votes. As for the Chinese government, it only wants to know how it can best serve its people while protecting the country’s interests,” it added.

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