Trump slaps tariffs on $200 bn of Chinese goods, Beijing to hit back (Second Lead)

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Washington/Beijing : US President Donald Trump has stepped up his trade battle with China by slapping 10 per cent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, which Beijing said it will retaliate against.

The new wave of tariffs will go into effect on September 24 and will climb to 25 per cent on January 1, 2019, the Trump administration announced on Monday. These will apply to almost 6,000 items, marking the biggest round of US tariffs so far.

Trump showed no sign of backing down from the type of full-blown trade war between the world's two largest economies that rattled financial markets, saying he was prepared to "immediately" place tariffs on another $267 billion worth of imports "if China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries", the New York Times reported.

The additional tariffs were on top of penalties enacted earlier in July on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Taken together, it means roughly half of the products that China sells to the US each year will be hit by American tariffs.

Unlike the first round of tariffs, which were intended to minimize the impact on American consumers, this wave could raise prices on everyday products including electronics, food, tools and housewares.

In response, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said that "Washington's move will force Beijing to take countermeasures" and warned that the action would add more uncertainties to the trade talks.

"We feel deeply regretful over the decision. China will be forced to take synchronous countermeasures to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests as well as the global free trade order," the Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

"The US additional tariffs have brought new uncertainties for bilateral consultations."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that "what the US has done shows no sincerity and no good faith at all".

"We have been stressing that talks need to happen on the basis of parity, equality and good faith to resolve the relevant issues between the two sides. This is only way out," Ministry's spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

Asked what kind of retaliatory action will China take, Geng said Beijing will take countermeasures in due time.

The list slated for tariffs originally included more than 6,000 items, but US officials later removed about 300 types of items, including smart watches, bicycle helmets, play pens, high chairs and baby car seats.

Trump said the latest round of tariffs was in response to China's "unfair trade practices".

"The tariffs are designed to force China to change a range of unfair trade practices, including compelling American companies to surrender their technology in return for access to the Chinese market.

"We have been very clear about the type of changes that need to be made, and we have given China every opportunity to treat us more fairly. But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices," he said.

After opening lower, the Shanghai stock market ended the day 1.8 per cent higher, while Tokyo was up 1.4 per cent and Hong Kong gained 0.6 per cent.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had invited the Chinese negotiators to Washington this week to resume talks. But Beijing said that "the US insistence on imposing tariffs brings new uncertainties" to those negotiations.

White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow on Monday said that the US was still willing to continue its dialogue with China.

"We stand ready to negotiate with China anytime, if they are willing to engage in serious talks," she said at the Economic Club of New York.

European Union's Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said that the new tariffs will increase downside risks to the world economy.

Published : Tuesday, September 18, 2018 18:00 [IST]
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