United States President Donald Trump on Friday announced 25% import tariffs worth $50 billion (Rs 3.4 lakh crore) on imports from China. The tariff list will target 800 product categories, down from 1,300 previously.
“The United States can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices,” Trump said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. “These tariffs are essential for preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect our jobs. In addition, they will serve as an initial step toward bringing balance to the trade relationship between the United States and China.”
Responding to Trump’s approval of the tariffs earlier in the day, the Chinese Foreign Ministry threatened retaliatory steps. Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a press conference that any economic and trade agreements made during the US-China talks would be void if Washington imposed tariffs, The People’s Daily reported.
“If the United States takes unilateral protectionist measures and harms China’s interests, we will respond immediately and take necessary measures to firmly safeguard our legitimate rights,” Geng added according to CNN.
However, Trump pledged additional tariffs if China retaliated.
An unidentified official in the Trump administration said the US president no longer believes that China’s influence on North Korea is a compelling reason to ease tariffs, because Washington and Pyongyang have now established diplomatic relations.
In April, Trump said he had asked trade officials to identify tariffs on an additional $100 billion (Rs 6.8 lakh crore) worth of Chinese imports. The US president’s decision was a response to China increasing tariffs on $50 billion worth of American goods, including aircraft and automobiles. Beijing’s move, on the other hand, was a direct reaction to the US’ decision to impose $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.