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US announces 25% tariff on set of Chinese goods


The US has imposed a 25% tariff on $50bn worth of Chinese goods and warned that any retaliation from China means that the figure may rise to a 25% tariff on $100bn worth of Chinese imports

The US government has announced it will place tariffs on $50bn of Chinese imports in a move that looks set to ignite a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

President Donald Trump said in a statement on Friday that a 25% tariff would be imposed on a list of strategically important imports from China, Reuters reported. He said the US would impose another $100bn of Chinese imports if Beijing retaliated.

“The US will pursue additional tariffs if China engages in retaliatory measures, such as imposing new tariffs on US goods, services, or agricultural products; raising non-tariff barriers or taking punitive actions against US exporters or US companies operating in China,” the president said in a statement.

Hours before the White House announcement, China said it would strike back.

“If the US takes unilateral, protectionist measures, harming China’s interests, we will quickly react and take necessary steps to resolutely protect our fair, legitimate rights,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular daily news briefing.

Trump’s initial list includes 818 products worth $34bn in Chinese goods, with the remainder of the $50bn is still to be decided, Reuters said.

The US has already triggered a trade war with Canada, Mexico and the European Union regarding steel and aluminium and has threatened to impose duties on European cars.

China has published its own list of threatened tariffs on $50bn in US goods, including soyabeans, aircraft and autos. It has threatened it would hit back if Washington followed up with further measures.

Washington has completed a second list of possible tariffs on another $100bn in Chinese goods, in the expectation that China will respond to the initial US tariff list in kind, sources told Reuters.

President Trump said: “The US can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices. These tariffs are essential to prevent further unfair transfers of US technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect US jobs. In addition, they will serve as an initial step toward bringing balance to the trade relationship between the US and China.”

On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund said that US trade policies were likely to hurt its domestic economy and undermine the world’s trade system.

IMF director Christine Lagarde said a trade war would lead to “losers on both sides” and might have a “serious” impact.

While the IMF expects the trade dispute to have relatively minor economic consequences — slowing gross domestic product by a fraction of a percentage point — Ms Lagarde said she was concerned about how the fight would affect sentiment.

“What is more critical and more difficult to factor in at the moment is the actual impact on confidence,” she said at a news conference in Washington.

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