China hikes tariffs on US goods after Trump warning

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China will impose tariffs on a total of 5,140 US products from June 1, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China said on Monday (May 13) it would impose higher tariffs on most US imports on a revised US$60 billion (S$82 billion) target list, hitting back at a tariff hike by Washington on US$200 billion of Chinese goods in a further escalation of a bitter trade war.

The retaliation comes as US President Donald Trump signals his intent to slap tariffs on all Chinese imports if Beijing does not give in, suggesting a prolonged standoff between the world's two largest economies that could roil global markets for weeks or months to come.

A total of 5,140 US products will be subject to additional tariffs of 5 per cent, 10 per cent, 20 per cent and 25 per cent starting June 1, the finance ministry in Beijing said in a statement.

The escalation, from rates of 5 per cent and 10 per cent, was announced hours after Trump warned China not to retaliate against the latest US tariffs hike.

The additional tariff of 25 per cent will be levied against 2,493 goods including liquefied natural gas, soy oil, peanut oil, petrochemicals, frozen vegetables and cosmetics, the ministry said, and of 20 per cent on 1,078 products.

Beijing had set additional rates of 5 per cent and 10 per cent on 5,207 US products worth US$60 billion in September, in response to the US's initial 10 per cent duty on the US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and warned at the time that it would counter any higher tariffs imposed by Washington.

"China's adjustment on additional tariffs is a response to US unilateralism and protectionism," the ministry said. "China hopes the US will get back to the right track of bilateral trade and economic consultations and meet with China halfway."

The United States on Friday activated a new 25 per cent duty on more than 5,700 categories of products from China, even as top Chinese and US negotiators resumed trade talks in Washington.

Trump had ordered the new tariffs, saying China "broke the deal" by reneging on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations. China has denied the allegations.

Trump last week also ordered US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to begin imposing tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports, which would affect an additional US$300 billion worth of goods.

China's revised target list on Monday still left out products such as crude oil and large aircraft. The finance ministry said in a separate statement that firms can seek remedies from the additional tariffs by applying for waivers.

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