China ‘ready to hit back’ at Donald Trump’s tariffs


The United States has almost completed a second list of tariffs on $100 billion (75.44 billion pounds) in Chinese goods, as President Donald Trump prepares to enact an initial round of duties that is expected to trigger an in-kind response from Beijing, several sources said.

As Trump prepares to impose the new tariffs on China, there is already evidence that his program is having a negative impact on some areas of industry and agriculture in Europe. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter ahead of a formal announcement. "Made in China 2025" identified 10 industries that the world's second-biggest economy wants to become globally competitive, and dominant in during this century. Commitments made so far in talks with the United States will be withdrawn if the threat to impose tariffs is carried out, China said this month.

Trade tensions between the world's two largest economies have been steadily escalating over recent months as Trump began tariff fights with long-standing U.S. allies Canada, Mexico and the European Union over steel and aluminum production.

At the daily briefing here, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, "If the USA side adopts unilateralism and protectionism and damages China's interests, we will respond in the first instance and take necessary measures to firmly safeguard our legitimate rights and interests".

Beijing earlier drew up a list of $50 billion in USA products that would face retaliatory tariffs, including beef and soybeans, a shot at Trump's supporters in rural America.

Robert E. Lighthizer, the president's chief trade negotiator, has said that the tariff list would be created to minimize the impact upon consumers.

On Thursday, China reiterated its preference for dialogue to resolve differences, but said it was ready to respond if Trump moved forward with tariffs.

"I'm a China-basher on trade", he told AFP, but added: "I don't see why we're imposing $50 billion worth of tariffs on China".

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Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices.

Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful that they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump's watch and undermine the benefits of the tax cuts he signed into law previous year. "In addition, they will serve as an initial step toward bringing balance to the trade relationship between the United States and China".

"If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt, ' Gary Cohn, Trump's former top economic adviser, said".

The list will contain 800 product categories, down from 1,300 previously, according to another administration official and an industry source familiar with the list.

Lu Xiang, a USA specialist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the world was facing the most uncertain economic times since the cold war. The White House said last month the final list would be unveiled on June 15, with the duties to be imposed "shortly thereafter".

But that amount is still significant and all but guaranteed to provoke a response form Beijing, which has its own tariff target list of $50 billion in US goods, including soybeans, beef and cars. We strongly oppose a trade war with China because no one ever wins in these tit-for-tat disputes.

Press officials at the U.S. Commerce Department and U.S. Trade Representative's office declined to comment on the tariff list plans.