China has fired back in a trade feud with US President Donald Trump by raising import duties, having turned a deaf ear to Trump’s threats of further counter-measures; and now it’s known which US products will be hardest hit.
China’s Commerce Ministry announced on Saturday its own ‘equal scale’ tariffs as a retaliatory move aimed at the United States and more specifically targeting the nation’s export of electric cars, soybeans and whiskey.
In a statement, China’s trade authorities called the Trump administration a “provocateur” due to its aggressive trade policies and warned of decisive impending retaliatory measures.
“China is a powerful guardian and has enough ammunition to defend existing trade rules and fairness,” the Chinese newspaper Global Times reported.
The selected products will be hit with a 25 percent duty beginning on June 25, which is essentially aimed at hitting top US exports from predominantly rural areas that demonstrated the most support for Trump during the 2016 US election campaign. At the same time, the products in question are not crucially important for the Chinese and on top of that, can be imported from countries other than the US.
China’s move essentially comes on the heels of Donald Trump’s most recent announcement of a new round of similar 25 percent tariffs targeting as much as $50 billion worth of China-manufactured products “that contain industrially significant technologies” due to China’s, as he put it, “theft of intellectual property and technology and its other unfair trade practices.” Earlier in the day, Trump emphasized his “great friendship with President Xi of China,” while citing historically unfair trade between the two countries. However, he insisted there is no trade war with this regard, though adding “additional tariffs” are looming ahead should Beijing hit back.
Threats of another round of China-US mutual tariffs have been continuously voiced ever since March, although trade delegations seemed to make some headway in May as Beijing consented to curbing tariffs on American cars, some of which are manufactured and assembled on Chinese soil, and Washington pledged to support the telecom giant ZTE, a company that was severely hit by the US sanctions.
In late March, the White House slapped trade sanctions on the world’s second largest economy, including limitations in the investment sector and tariffs on $60bn worth of products out of “fairness” considerations, with Trump referring to the car market, stating that at the time China charged a tariff ten times higherk on US cars than the US did on Chinese cars.
Separately, in a bid to deliver on his campaign promises, Trump announced an intention to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from an array of the US allies, including the EU, Mexico and Canada, which, in turn, have promised to retaliate. Trump has also reportedly mulled putting a 25 percent import tax on European cars, something that is feared to particularly affect the extensive German car market.
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