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Trade war looms: China strikes back with 25 per cent tariffs on 106 US imports

Trade war looms: China strikes back with 25 per cent tariffs on 106 US imports  article image

Beijing has wasted little time in hitting back at Washington’s latest round of tariffs on Chinese imports.

China’s State Council has announced a new list of US products that would be subject to punitive action, as the world’s two largest economies edge ever closer towards an all-out trade war.

The Council said it planned to impose additional tariffs of 25 per cent on 106 US products imported into the country, including soybeans and cars.

The Ministry of Commerce said the import value of the goods on the list in 2017 was US$50 billion (A$65 billion).

Beijing’s response came just hours after the United States Trade Representative Office released details of Chinese imports worth about US$50 billion that it planned to hit with 25 per cent tariffs, with the emphasis on industrial and hi-tech goods.

The US announcement came after an investigation into China’s trade practices and policies, including Made in China 2025, Beijing’s strategy to guide the country’s industrial modernisation.

Measures of equal scale and strength

The Made in China 2025 industrial policy is focusing heavily in such high-tech industries and the US is worried they could give its rising Asian rival an economic and national defence advantage.

The US list covers 1,300 items, including high-definition colour video monitors, electromagnets used in MRI machines, aerospace products, and machinery used to make processed textiles, printed products and food.

Beijing responded immediately to the US announcement saying it would “take corresponding measures of equal scale and strength against US products in accordance with Chinese law”.

Initially it had imposed only relatively measured tariffs of 15-25 per cent on 128 product lines or about $US3 billion of US goods sold in China such as pork, cherries and recycled aluminium.

However, yesterday it signalled wider tariffs on 106 US imports in response to US President Donald Trump's second wave of action.

Beijing has said the initial duties were in response to President Trump imposing import levies of 25 per cent and 10 per cent on foreign steel and aluminium from China and select other countries

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