China has threatened to impose additional duties on up to $3 billion (Rs 19,560 crore) of American imports on Friday, hours after the United States announced its plan to levy tariffs on more Chinese products. Fears of a trade war between the two largest economies sent global markets tumbling – the Dow Jones ended almost 725 points lower on Thursday, and the Nikkei in Tokyo was down almost 4% soon after it opened on Friday.
China said it will “fight to the end” to defend its interests, and urged the United States to make “prudent decisions” and “avoid dragging bilateral trade relations to a dangerous place”, Reuters reported. “China doesn’t hope to be in a trade war, but is not afraid of engaging in one,” the Commerce Ministry said.
On Thursday, United States President Donald Trump signed a memorandum, with plans to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of imports from China, in retaliation to what the White House says is misappropriation of US intellectual property by Beijing. The proposed list of targeted products has about 1,300 items.
Curbing imports was a major election promise Trump had made.
Trump had started his address with: “I view them as a friend. We have spoken to China and we are in the middle of negotiations.” However, he then said the tariffs were fair, as China imposes a 25% duty on US cars but the US only has a 2.5% tariff on Chinese ones. “They charge us, we charge the same thing,” he said.
The announcement will be followed by a 30-day consultation period. The president also gave the Treasury Department two months to plan restrictions on Chinese-controlled companies and funds from investing in the United States.
In response, China said it was considering an additional 15% or 25% tariff on 128 US products.