China on Tuesday announced tariffs on US$60 billion worth of American goods, hitting back at Washington a day after the Trump administration unveiled fresh trade sanctions on Chinese products.
“China is forced to respond to U.S. unilateralism and trade protectionism, and has no choice but to respond with its own tariffs,” China’s finance ministry said in a statement, Reuters reports.
Under the move, Beijing will impose additional levies of 5 or 10 percent on a total of 5,207 American products, ranging from liquefied natural gas to certain types of aircraft as well as cocoa powder and frozen vegetables, according to the report.
The announcement came after the US said on Monday that it will begin to levy new tariffs of 10 percent on about US$200 billion of Chinese products on Sept. 24, with the tariffs to go up to 25 percent by the end of 2018.
China’s new tariffs will come into force the same day as the US duties, marking an escalation of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
The US had earlier imposed tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese products to pressure Beijing to make sweeping changes to its trade, technology transfer and high-tech industrial subsidy policies.
Trump warned on Monday that if China takes retaliatory action against US farmers or industries, “we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.”
Trump’s escalation of tariffs on China came after several rounds of talks yielded no progress.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday that the next step on holding “constructive negotiations” is up to China.
European Trade Commissioner, meanwhile, said the tariff issues between the US and China should be resolved through the World Trade Organization.
“Trade wars are not good and they are not easy to win, and this escalation is of course very unfortunate,” Reuters quoted Cecilia Malmstrom as saying.
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