The US will soon reveal more tariffs on Chinese imports as China’s levies on US imports took effect.China has increased tariffs by up to 25 per cent on 128 US products, from frozen pork and wine to certain fruits and nuts, escalating a dispute between the world’s biggest economies in response to US duties on imports of aluminium and steel.
The tariffs, which take effect on Monday, were announced late on Sunday by China’s finance ministry and matched a list of possible tariffs on up to $US3 billion in US goods published by China on March 23.
Soon after the announcement, an editorial in the widely read Global Times newspaper warned that if the US had thought China would not retaliate or would only take symbolic countermeasures, it could “say goodbye to that delusion”.
“Even though China and the US have not publicly said they are in a trade war, the sparks of such a war have already started to fly,” the newspaper said.
The Ministry of Commerce said it was suspending its obligations to the World Trade Organisation to reduce tariffs on 120 US goods, including fruit and ethanol. The tariffs on those products will be raised by an extra 15 per cent.
Eight other products, including pork and scrap aluminium, would now be subject to additional tariffs of 25 per cent, it said, with the measures effective starting April 2.
“China’s suspension of its tariff concessions is a legitimate action adopted under WTO rules to safeguard China’s interests,” the finance ministry said.
China is moving swiftly with retaliatory action amid escalating trade tension with the US.
In response to China’s move, Washington said Beijing’s subsidies and overcapacity were behind the action on steel.
“Instead of targeting fairly traded US exports, China needs to stop its unfair trading practices which are harming US national security and distorting global markets,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement.
US President Donald Trump is separately preparing to impose tariffs of more than $US50 billion on Chinese goods following an investigation under Section 301 of the 1974 US Trade Act.
The US administration says China has systematically misappropriated American intellectual property, allegations China denies.
About the Section 301 investigation, China had “yet to unsheathe its sword”, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Sometime this week, the Trump administration is expected to unveil a list of Chinese goods that could be subjected to new US tariffs.
US technology industry officials said they expected the list to target products that benefit from Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” program, which aims to upgrade the domestic manufacturing base with more advanced products.
China has repeatedly promised to open its economy further, but many foreign companies complain of unfair treatment. China warned the US on Thursday not to open a Pandora’s Box and spark a flurry of protectionist practices across the globe.