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September 11, 2018

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China vows to respond after more US threats

CHINA will respond if the United States takes any new steps on trade, the foreign ministry said yesterday after US President Donald Trump warned he was ready to slap tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports into the US.

On Friday, Trump said he was considering extending penalties to an additional US$267 billion of Chinese products. That would be on top of US$50 billion of goods already hit by 25 percent duties and another US$200 billion on which Washington is poised to raise tariffs.

“If the US side obstinately clings to its course and takes any new tariff measures against China, then the Chinese side will inevitably take countermeasures to resolutely protect our legitimate rights,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

He did not elaborate, but the government said in June that it would impose unspecified “comprehensive measures” if necessary.

The US and China have activated additional tariffs on US$50 billion of each other’s goods since July, as trade friction between the world’s two biggest economies worsened, despite several rounds of negotiations.

In August, China unveiled a proposed list of retaliatory tariffs on US$60 billion of US goods ranging from liquefied natural gas to some types of aircraft, should Washington activate the tariffs on its US$200 billion list.

The tariffs, ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent, would apply to 5,207 products, and US actions will determine whether China adopts the additional duties, Beijing said at the time.

China has either imposed or proposed tariffs on US$110 billion of US goods though crude oil and large aircraft are still not targeted for penalties.

The US$200 billion of Chinese goods on the US list includes some consumer products such as cameras and recording devices, luggage, handbags, tires and vacuum cleaners, with additional tariffs ranging from 10 to 25 percent.

Spared until now, mobile telephones, the biggest US import from China, would be engulfed if Trump activates the US$267 billion tariff list.

Trump’s threatened tariffs cover a total of US$517 billion in Chinese goods, which would exceed last year’s goods imports of US$505 billion from China.

China’s exports to the US have been unexpectedly resilient, rising by double digits in July and August despite the US tariff hikes.


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