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China proposes retaliatory tariffs on $60B of U.S. products

By Danielle Haynes
China proposes retaliatory tariffs on $60B of U.S. products
China said that if President Donald Trump followed through on his proposal to hike tariffs on Chinese products again, Beijing would do the same. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 3 (UPI) -- China on Friday announced new retaliatory tariffs against the United States on more than 5,000 U.S. goods worth $60 billion if President Donald Trump follows through on a new round of tariffs he said he's considering.

Beijing's Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council said the tariffs would range from 5 percent to 25 percent.

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"China was forced to take the countermeasures" in reaction to Trump saying he was considering raising tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, the commission said.

"The implementation date of the taxation measures will be subject to the actions of the US, and China reserves the right to continue to introduce other countermeasures," China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. "Any unilateral threat or blackmail will only lead to intensification of conflicts and damage to the interests of all parties."

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The White House issued a statement Friday, condemning the proposal.

"Instead of retaliating, China should address the longstanding concerns about its unfair trading practices, many of which are laid out in [the U.S. Trade Representative's] 301 report," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

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China's proposed import tax is the latest in a tit-for-tat trade war between the two countries, which started in March when Trump signed a presidential order imposing tariffs on at least $50 billion in Chinese goods. The order was meant to stem what he described as "economic aggression" by Beijing and an unbalanced trade deficit.

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The tariffs were the result of a Section 301 trade investigation launched the previous summer. The inquiry found that Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property was costing the U.S. economy billions of dollars.

The 25 percent tax targeted some 1,300 items, including steel, aluminum, machinery, electronics and aerospace products. The full list was published in the Federal Register.

China responded with tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. items, largely agricultural products and metal. A total of 128 items were targeted with a 15 percent duty, including fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, wines, modified ethanol, American ginseng and seamless steel pipes. And U.S. pork and recycled aluminum was hit with a 25 percent tariff.

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China called for an end to the trade dispute through talks with the United States, but on May 29, the United States announced another round of tariffs on about $50 billion in Chinese goods. The 25 percent tax targeted "industrially significant technology," the full list of which was published in the Federal Register.

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Trump announced a further round of 25 percent of tariffs June 15 on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. The new list included more machinery and aerospace products.

China immediately expanded its own list of types of U.S. products to be tariffed, including farm products, cars and crude oil. Beijing accused the United States of starting a trade war.

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