China strikes back in trade spat, aims tariffs at $3 billion US goods

Beijing, China Published: Mar 23, 2018, 01:06 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

China unveiled plans on Friday to impose tariffs on up to $3 billion of US imports in retaliation against US tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminium products, as the world's two largest economies stood on the brink of a trade war.

China was considering a 15 percent tariff on US products including dried fruit, wine and steel pipes and a 25 percent tariff on pork products and recycled aluminium, the commerce ministry said in a statement on it website.

China has assembled a list of 128 US products in total that could be targeted if the two countries are unable to reach an agreement on trade issues, the ministry added.

US President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum on Thursday targeting up to $60 billion in Chinese goods with tariffs, but only after a 30-day consultation period that starts once a list is published.

Beijing's disclosure of its planned retaliation to proposed tariffs on Chinese metal exports to the United States, served as a warning to Washington as both sides brandished their weapons while holding off from starting a full-blown trade war.

The commerce ministry said China would implement the measures in two stages: first the 15 percent tariff on 120 products including steel pipes and wine worth $977 million and later the higher 25 percent tariff on $1.99 billion of pork and aluminium.

"We intend to impose tariffs on certain US imports to balance out the losses caused to Chinese interests by the US tariffs on imported steel and aluminium," the ministry said.

The ministry added it would take legal action under the framework of the World Trade Organization to maintain the stability of global trading rules. It added, however, it hoped it could resolve issues with the U.S. through dialogue.

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