Date
15 December 2018
China and the US have already slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on US$50 billion of each other’s goods. Photo: Reuters
China and the US have already slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on US$50 billion of each other’s goods. Photo: Reuters

China warns of retaliation if US slaps new tariffs

China will be forced to retaliate if the United States implements any new tariff measures, China’s commerce ministry warned, as the world’s two biggest economies remain locked in an intensifying trade war.

Global markets were on edge after US President Donald Trump threatened fresh tariffs on another US$200 billion in Chinese imports, Reuters reports.

“If the United States, regardless of opposition, adopts any new tariff measures, China will be forced to roll out necessary retaliatory measures,” the news agency quoted ministry spokesman Gao Feng as saying at a regular news conference on Thursday.

China will closely monitor the impact from any fresh tariffs and adopt strong measures to help Chinese or foreign firms operating in China to overcome difficulties, said Gao.

The Trump administration is ready to move ahead with a fresh round of tariffs after a public comment period ends at midnight in Washington on Thursday, but the timing is uncertain, people familiar with the administration’s plans told Reuters.

The new duties will start to hit consumer products directly, including furniture, lighting products, tires, bicycles and car seats for babies.

China and the US have already slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on US$50 billion of each other’s goods, spooking financial markets in recent months as investors and policymakers worried the bitter trade war could derail global growth.

Trump is demanding Beijing improve market access and intellectual property protections for US companies, cut industrial subsidies and slash a US$375 billion trade gap.

Markets fear any fresh US duties on Chinese imports will mark a major escalation in the trade dispute between the world’s two economic giants, potentially causing significant drag on global business investment, trade and growth.

In August, China unveiled a proposed list of retaliatory tariffs on US$60 billion of US goods ranging from liquefied natural gas to certain types of aircraft, in response to the US measures.

Trump said on Wednesday the US was not yet ready to come to an agreement over trade disputes with China but he said talks would continue.

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RC/CG

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