The United States and China on Friday imposed tariffs worth $34 billion (Rs 23,454 crore) on each other’s imports, Reuters reported, with Beijing accusing Washington of triggering the “largest-scale trade war”.
United States President Donald Trump on Friday said tariffs worth $16 billion (Rs 11,036 crore) may be implemented in the following two weeks. That will take the total amount to $550 billion (Rs 3.79 lakh crore), which exceeds the value of goods China exports to the United States, Bloomberg reported.
US customs officials will now begin collecting an additional 25% tariff on imported Chinese goods such as farming plows, semiconductors and airplane parts. China will impose increased tariffs on American goods such as soybeans, seafood and automobiles.
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said China had always opposed trade protectionism and that unilateral pressure would be futile, Reuters reported. “After the United States unfairly raised tariffs against China, China immediately put into effect raised tariffs on some US goods,” Lu said.
A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce said the US tariffs violate World Trade Organisation rules. Washington was acting like a typical “trade bully”, posing a grave threat to the security of global industry and value chains, state-run Xinhua quoted the spokesperson as saying.
“China will not fire the first shot, but is inevitably forced to strike back to defend the core interest of the nation and its people,” the ministry said in a statement. “We will report to the World Trade Organisation on a timely basis.”
China’s retaliatory tariffs come a week after Canada announced tariffs worth $16.6 billion against the US for hiking tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
On June 15, Trump announced 25% import tariffs worth $50 billion (Rs 3.4 lakh crore) on imports from China to “prevent further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect our job”. The tariff list names 800 product categories, down from 1,300 previously. China then unveiled a list of products on which it will impose retaliatory import duties.
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.