Trump puts 25% tariff on Chinese goods

16 June, 2018, 15:19 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • JULIO CESAR AGUILAR  AFP  Getty Images

The world's No. 2 economy will impose tariffs with "equal scale, equal intensity" on imports from the USA and all of the country's earlier trade commitments are now off the table, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its website late Friday.

Mr Trump's revised tariff list may exclude some consumer items from an earlier proposal to focus more on goods related to Beijing's Made in China 2025 programme, according to a Eurasia Group report. He said tariffs place "the cost of China's unfair trade practices squarely on the shoulders of American consumers, manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers". "These practices ... harm our economic and national security and deepen our already massive trade imbalance with China", the president said.

The tariffs will go into effect July 6.

In response to Trump's decision, the Chinese government said it would levy tariffs against US products and services.

China responded swiftly, saying it has imposed "equal" tariffs on U.S. products.

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However many economists and businesses in the United States say the tariffs are likely to hurt some of the sectors the administration is trying to protect, which depend on China for parts or assembly. In the statement, Trump said those measures would be implemented only if the Chinese strike back at Friday's move.

Beijing's move is a tit-for-tat response to the United States imposition of a 25 percent tariff on Chinese products announced Friday.

U.S. trade representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said: "China's government is aggressively working to undermine America's high-tech industries and our economic leadership through unfair trade practices and industrial policies like Made in China 2025". The Trump administration unveiled its tariffs just hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned from his first visit to Beijing where he met with his Chinese counterparts and President Xi Jinping.

Trump shocked the world and fellow members of the G7 when he chose to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel on the US's closest neighbour, Canada, following a public spat with its prime minister Justin Trudeau, who also vowed to respond.

Trump has long complained about China's huge trade surplus with the United States. The U.S. tariffs are designed specifically to punish China for forcing American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

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"We will immediately launch tax measures of equal scale and equal strength", the commerce ministry said in a statement on its website which also called on other countries to "take collective action" against this "outdated and backwards behaviour".

China has published its own list of threatened tariffs on US$50 billion of USA goods, including soybeans, aircraft and cars, and has said it would hit back if Washington follows up with further measures. In that year, the US says its goods trade deficit with China was $375.2 billion. "This is not the right approach", Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.

China would also cancel agreements it had reached with the USA during previous discussions over the penalties, it said.

She said a trade war would lead to "losers on both sides" and could have a "serious" impact.

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