China ‘will retaliate’ if US imposes new tariffs on $200bn of goods
09/10/2018 8:58 a.m.
Beijing has laid the ground for another round of tit-for-tat tariffs in the US-China trade war as it declared its readiness to retaliate if Washington imposes a fresh set of duties on $200bn (£155bn) of Chinese goods, which could happen as soon as this week.
The proposed new tariffs from Washington – levied at 25% of the value of thousands of specific products – would come on top of existing 25% tariffs on $50bn of Chinese exports, most of which kicked in on 6 July. China was quick to strike back then, imposing tariffs on a similar amount of US goods.
Beijing’s economic ministry spokesman, Gao Feng, repeated threats that it would retaliate if a new round of tariffs was imposed: “If the United States, regardless of opposition, adopts any new tariff measures, China will be forced to roll out necessary retaliatory measures.”
The consultation period on the new tariffs ends on Thursday, which means Donald Trump could sign off on them imminently. The first wave of US tariffsmainly affected aerospace, IT and medical equipment. The second wave would affect 6,000 more Chinese products imported into the US, including many metals and chemicals, but also everyday consumer goods such as toilet paper, deodorants, shampoo, furniture, meat and fish. Also on the list are more unusual items such as badger hair for shaving brushes, shark fins, eels and portable forges.
In August, China outlined plans for its retaliatory measures, with dutieson $60bn of goods. Levies would be imposed on more than 5,000 goods imported from the US, including aircraft, soya bean oil, smoked beef, coffee and flour.
Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst at the foreign exchange platform Oanda, said new US tariffs would be a major escalation by Trump in the US-China dispute. “This would represent a significant ramping up of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies and show the US electorate ahead of the mid-term [elections] that he will not shy away from his strategy, regardless of the warnings against doing so.”