Vietnam Time

5/13/2019 9:54:27 PM

China hits back with tariffs on US$60 billion worth of US goods

China said on Monday (May 13) it will impose higher tariffs on a range of US goods, striking back in its trade war with Washington shortly after US President Donald Trump warned it not to retaliate.

The world's two largest economies have engaged in a tit-for-tat tariff war. (Photo: AFP/Fred Dufour)

Beijing will impose tariffs ranging from 5 per cent to 25 per cent on a total of 5,140 American products worth about US$60 billion. The tariffs will take effect on Jun 1, said China's finance ministry.

An additional tariff of 25 per cent will be levied against 2,493 goods including liquefied natural gas, the ministry said, and an additional tariff of 20 per cent will be imposed on 1,078 products.

Beijing previously set additional rates of 5 per cent and 10 per cent on 5,207 US products worth US$60 billion in September, and warned at the time that it would counter any higher tariffs imposed by Washington on Chinese products.

"China's adjustment on additional tariffs is a response to US unilateralism and protectionism," the ministry said. "China hopes the US will get back to the right track of bilateral trade and economic consultations and meet with China halfway."

The United States on Friday activated a new 25 per cent duty on more than 5,700 categories of products from China, even as top Chinese and US negotiators resumed trade talks in Washington.

US President Donald Trump had ordered the new tariffs, saying China "broke the deal" by reneging on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations. China has denied the allegations.

He also also ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last week to begin imposing tariffs on all remaining imports from China, a move that would affect an additional US$300 billion worth of goods.

Earlier on Monday, China's government said that the country would never surrender to external pressure.

"We have said many times that adding tariffs won't resolve any problem. China will never surrender to external pressure. We have the confidence and the ability to protect our lawful and legitimate rights," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing, responding to a question on Trump's threat of putting duties on all Chinese imports.

State media also kept up a steady drumbeat of strongly-worded commentary on Monday, reiterating that China's door to talks was always open, but vowing to defend the country's interests and dignity.

"At no time will China forfeit the country's respect, and no one should expect China to swallow bitter fruit that harms its core interests," China's top newspaper, the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, said in a commentary.

State television said in a separate commentary that the effect on the Chinese economy from the US tariffs was "totally controllable".

"It's no big deal. China is bound to turn crisis to opportunity and use this to test its abilities, to make the country even stronger."

Ahead of talks last week, China wanted to delete commitments from a draft agreement that Chinese laws would be changed to enact new policies on issues from intellectual property protection to forced technology transfers. That move dealt negotiations to resolve the trade dispute a major setback.

Trump has since defended the tariff hike and said he was in "absolutely no rush" to finalise a deal.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday that there was a "strong possibility" Trump will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G20 summit in Japan in late June./.

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