China to impose 25% tariff on USA goods worth US$50b

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President Donald Trump announced Friday that Washington has approved to impose tariffs worth $50 billion on China that was initially announced in April, a move that escalates trade tensions between the world's two largest economies.

The United States of America is now feeling the impact of retaliatory tariffs imposed by China with heavy import duties worth tens of billions of dollars on USA goods including lobsters, soybeans, electric cars and whiskey.

Trump kicked off the action in March with the announcement that the USA would impose tariffs on Chinese goods as punishment for the theft of U.S. intellectual property by China.

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.

But the White House maintains that any Chinese countermeasures would be unjust and could be met with further U.S. sanctions.

USA officials say the tariff hike targets goods that might benefit from Chinese theft of technology or pressure on foreign companies to hand it over in exchange for market access.

China previously issued a list of USA products it would hit with 25 percent tariffs in the event of a trade war - from big products like soybeans and beef to more niche items such as bourbon and ginseng - although no timetable was specified.

An official in charge of the Office of the Customs Tariff Commission said that 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.

Trump previously imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico, a move that drew strong rebukes from USA allies. "We will immediately introduce tax measures of equal scale and equal strength, and all economic and trade achievements reached by the two sides will be invalidated".

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US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the punitive duties will apply on 818 Chinese products valued at US$34 billion starting Jul 6.

China also called on the world to "firmly safeguard" the interests of the people.

The ministry says it's also scrapping deals to buy more American farm goods and other exports - steps that were meant to help ease a dispute over China's trade surplus and China's technology policy. In an emailed statement, Mr Trump pledged additional tariffs if China follows through on the retaliation threats.

Trump's China trade offensive is only one side of his multifront trade confrontation with all major United States economic partners.

Trump has targeted China's "Made in China 2025" goods that are part of China's strategic plan to dominate the emerging high-technology industries that will drive future economic growth of China, but hurt economic growth for the U.S. and many other countries, he said.

Trump officials said the products to be hit with tariffs include those that benefit from the "Made in China 2025" policy, an effort by Beijing to ramp up aerospace, robotics and other manufacturing industries.

"As I have said before, in a so-called trade war, driven by reciprocal increases of import tariffs, nobody wins", she said. At an event sponsored by The Washington Post, he added, "If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt".

"We are assessing the impact these tariffs and any reciprocal action could have on our supply chain and commercial business", said Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers.

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