China sets retaliatory tariffs on US$60 billion in U.S. goods


The Finance Ministry said it was going ahead with plans announced in August for the increases of 10 per cent and 5 per cent on 5,207 types of USA goods.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular briefing that China will announce details about its countermeasures "at the appropriate time", adding that "the protectionist and unilateral measures taken by the United States side are very unacceptable for us". It appealed for "pragmatic dialogue" to "jointly safeguard the principle of free trade and the multilateral trading system". They rise to 25 percent on January 1.

Trump kicked off his trade war with China in March, imposing higher tariffs after an investigation by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had found that China used foreign ownership restrictions to require tech transfers from USA to Chinese companies, as well as conducting espionage to acquire intellectual property.

"The Chinese side reiterates that the aim of imposing these tariffs is to prevent trade frictions from escalating and it is a measure of last resort against American unilateralism and trade protectionism", the Chinese state television report said.

Tim Stratford, former assistant US trade representative and managing partner of the global law firm Covington's Beijing office, predicted at a World Economic Forum panel in Tianjin on Tuesday that the conflict would see no victor soon.

The chamber chairman, William Zarit, said in a statement, "Contrary to views in Washington, China can - and will - dig its heels in and we are not optimistic about the prospect for a resolution in the short term".

The U.S. had already imposed tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese imports. Economists say the cost of consumer products such as air conditioners, furniture, lamps and handbags will rise, since many American manufacturers assemble goods on Chinese soil.

The president - who had given a strong signal of his latest intentions in a tweet early on Monday - says it is his "duty to protect the interests of working men and women, farmers, ranchers, businesses, and our country itself".

Mr Trump threatened to "immediately" double the list of imports subjected to tariffs if China retaliated but the country said that it had no choice but to do so.

China's 'counterattack strategy needs to restrict exports to the United States as well as (imports of) US goods, ' Lou was paraphrased as saying.

Beijing has retaliated in kind, but some analysts and American businesses are concerned it could resort to other measures such as pressuring USA companies operating in China. "No one will emerge victorious from this counter-productive cycle". On Tuesday, Beijing threatened to "undertake synchronous retaliation" against the US for its decision.

Speaking Sunday at an economics forum, Lou Jiwei, a former finance minister and chairman of China's sovereign wealth fund, said Beijing should disrupt supply chains of American companies that rely on China's vast manufacturing industries, the website reported. Millions of iDevices are exported from manufacturers in China each year, and Chinese government officials have explicitly suggested that those products could be casualties in the trade war. And in a victory for Apple Inc., the administration removed smart watches and some other consumer electronics products.

"China has had many opportunities to fully address our concerns", Trump said in a statement.

Last month it unveiled a proposed list of tariffs on $60 billion (€51 billion) of American goods, ranging from liquefied natural gas to aircraft, should Washington trigger the list that Trump has just announced. But Trump quickly backed away from the truce.

Kudlow declined to specify details of the expected announcement but noted that reports indicating Trump will unveil 10 percent duties on $200 billion in imports are "more or less correct".

Earlier this month, Apple wrote a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative.

China's currency has fallen more than 5% against the dollar so far this year, with analysts pointing to trade tensions as a major factor behind increasingly torpid economic figures out of Beijing.

Trump has strained relations with potential allies including the European Union, Canada and Mexico by raising tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.