Just days after the Republican firebrand announced trade restrictions on some of the US's closest allies, including European Union states and Canada, it was confirmed America would impose tariffs of 25 percent on $50billion worth of Chinese goods. A senior Trump administration official told reporters that companies will be able to apply for exclusions for Chinese imports they can not source elsewhere.
China retaliated in "equal scale" Saturday by both scrapping a recent agreement to reduce its trade surplus with the U.S.by buying more American goods and by raising duties on a $34 billion list of USA goods including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey.
"We will immediately introduce the same scale and equal taxation measures, and all economic and trade achievements reached by the two sides will be invalidated".
Trump's announcement capped months of sometimes fraught shuttle diplomacy between Washington and Beijing, in which Chinese offers failed to assuage Trump's grievances over the soaring US-China trade imbalance.
China responded immediately, saying it will impose comparable taxes on USA goods, despite threats from Trump that such a move would results in further retaliatory measures.
The threat of a trade war does not look good for global markets, as The Dow Jones fell by almost 200 points on Friday after the new rules were announced. The new USA tariffs, which target almost 1,100 Chinese goods (mostly advanced industrial products), are meant to punish China for stealing US intellectual property and other unfair trade practices. In April, China raised import duties on a $3 billion list of USA pork, apples and other products.
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During an impromptu appearance on the White House North Lawn, the president hailed his "very big tariffs" on China. The affected nations have appealed to the World Trade Organization (WTO), demanding compensation over what they call a "protectionist measure".
Indeed, Business Insider reported Republican Rep. Kevin Brady commenting: "My message has been consistent: we need to hit our target, which is China and its deceptive and harmful trading practices".
But USTR added a second tranche of tariffs on 284 product lines targeting semiconductors, a broad range of electronics and chemical products it said benefited from China's industrial subsidy programs, including the "Made in China 2025" plan.
The list does not include cellular telephones or televisions, which are often purchased by American consumers.
The U.S. had earlier announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Japan, Mexico and Europe.
She said a trade war would lead to "losers on both sides" and could have a "serious" impact.