China raises tariffs on $60B of U.S. goods in technology fight

Beijing may also decline to participate in proposed trade talks with Washington later this month if the Trump administration goes ahead with the additional tariffs the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. — AFP pic

China raises tariffs on $60B of U.S. goods in technology fight

China's retaliatory tariffs, ranging from 5 to 10 percent on more than 5,000 items, are to take effect on Monday next week, the Chinese Ministry of Finance said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Trump warned tariffs would increase to 25 percent on January 1 unless the two countries reach a deal on trade.

He noted the day prior: "China has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade for many years".

Beijing has warned that it would hit an additional $60 billion in American goods if Trump ordered more tariffs.

For Australia, where the dollar has already shed almost 10 United States cents of value since late January, there's a direct impact on our resource exports from lower Chinese growth and an indirect one given that our currency and financial markets are seen as a safe proxy for an exposure to China.

In response, Beijing has fired back with tariffs on $60 billion worth of American products, including clothing, furniture and auto parts. And China has retaliated in kind, hitting American soybeans, among other goods, in a shot at the president's supporters in the USA farm belt.

Smart watches and devices that use bluetooth wireless communications, the technology behind Apple's AirPods and other products that work with smartphones, will be excluded from the new tariff list.

The US and China have already placed penalties of $50 billion on each other's goods, with Beijing focusing on agricultural goods like soybeans, pork and dairy products that affect American farmers, who represent much of Trump's political base. It was unclear if the tariffs announced on Tuesday were lower to match the United States plan.

Mr Trump's tweet came as a senior administration official said the USA is ready to go with US$200 billion (S$275 billion) in additional tariffs on Chinese goods, with a possible announcement coming soon.

For now, China has declined to put tariffs on USA crude oil.

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The group said in a comment to trade regulators on September 6 that "by raising the cost of networking products, the proposed duties would impede the development and adoption of cloud-based services and infrastructure".

"For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices, and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies", Trump said. Solid pluralities of registered voters in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas said tariffs will do more to increase costs of products and harm the economy.

Former European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson told Bloomberg TV that the Trump administration appeared to be trying to change Chinese industrial policy, and was unlikely to succeed. And the companies closest to the tariffs say that, yes, inflation is a risk.

This latest round of imports will face 10% tariffs through the end of the year, and then the rate will jump to 25%.

Trump's latest escalation of tariffs on China comes after several rounds of talks yielded no progress.

President Donald Trump made the announcement Monday in a move that is sure to ratchet up hostilities between Washington and Beijing.

At nearly the same time the tariff list was released in Beijing, Trump threatened more countermeasures against China if it targets politically potent U.S. agricultural products for retaliation.

Donald Trump says the new move is in line with an ongoing study by the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

"But, so far, China has been unwilling to change its practices", he said. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week invited top Chinese officials to discussions. He said three-quarters of its members will be hit by the tariffs, and they will not bring jobs back to the US.

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