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U.S.-China trade was is now a major world issue. The United States is taking measures against China while China vows to take counter-measures.

Media reports from Washington DC and Beijing said:

China plans to take “necessary countermeasures” in response to the US’ decision to increase tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods, a decision China’s Commerce Ministry said it “deeply regrets.”

The ministry did not elaborate on what those countermeasures might be, but added in a statement that it hoped the US could come to a mutually satisfactory agreement with China through “cooperation and consultation”.

China’s statement was made as the increase in tariffs took effect at the turn of midnight on Friday Eastern time, between two days of desperate talks aimed at rescuing a trade deal that has been in the making for months now.

US President Donald Trump announced the hike on Sunday, accusing China of backtracking on commitments it had made while fleshing out the deal – what he later called “they broke the deal.”

Chinese officials rushed to the US to continue the negotiations, a move they said proved that they were “serious” about reaching an agreement. None has been forthcoming so far, with the talks in Washington moving into the second day without visible progress.

The tariffs impact a wide range of imported consumer products including electronics, luggage, furniture, construction materials, seafood, and lighting. They do not affect products currently in transit, meaning the two countries have a small window of opportunity to reach an agreement while the next shipment of goods from China is en route.

A Chinese delegation is currently in Washington for the 11th round of China-U.S. high-level economic and trade consultations.

With this round of talks still ongoing, China hopes that the U.S. can meet China halfway, and that the two sides will make joint efforts to resolve existing problems through cooperation and consultation, the delegation said.

China better prepared than U.S. to withstand trade war

Chinese state media Thursday published and aired reports quoting U.S.-based organizations and individuals critical of Trump’s decision to raise tariffs, but played down the impact higher U.S. tariffs would have on the Chinese economy.

“China is well-prepared for an escalation in trade tensions. A variety of plans are in place, such as countermeasures for any tariff rise, and favorable policies to minimize losses for Chinese enterprises,” the Global Times, a tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, said in an editorial.

It said: “Mentally and materially, China is much better prepared than its U.S. counterpart.”

This came in response to U.S. President Donald Trump tweeting Sunday that he will hike U.S. tariffs by 25 percent on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods by Friday and target hundreds of billions more soon, prior to this week’s negotiations between the two countries.

According to a Reuters report, Trump’s team was upset that Beijing deleted commitments Chinese negotiators had made to change domestic laws in every one of the seven chapters of the nearly 150-page draft text of the agreement. The sources said the changes were not shown to the U.S. side until Friday night, via a diplomatic cable.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng responded by saying that “China’s attitude has been consistent and China will not succumb to any pressure. China has made preparations to respond to all kinds of possible outcomes.” He did not elaborate.

Neither side has raised tariffs since both leaders met in Argentina in November 2018 and agreed to a truce while their teams negotiated an end to the trade war. Tariffs on Chinese goods are paid to the U.S. by the companies importing the goods; most of those companies are U.S.-based

Back in February 2019, the U.S. president decided to delay the increment from 10 to 25 percent trade tariffs on imported Chinese goods, as negotiations and talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping were underway. Yet with the latest statement, the Chinese delegation could decide not to convene because of what is likely to be seen as an escalation by Trump.

US announces 25% tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese imports

Earlier reports said:

US Customs and Border Protection announced Thursday a 25% hike on tariffs on 5,700 categories of Chinese imports, amounting to $200 billion that would take effect the following day – just as stock markets in the US closed.

A guidance notice on CBP’s website said the import categories were previously subjected to a 10% tariff.

Trump said on Thursday that the move was intended to apply pressure to Beijing, which requested substantial edits to a trade deal being negotiated between the two countries. If successful, the deal is anticipated to bring the lifting of tariffs on each others’ imported goods, as well as enhanced intellectual property protections for Chinese companies and expanded markets in China for US goods.

“We were getting very close to a deal then they started to renegotiate the deal. We can’t have that,” Trump said Thursday. “I think it will be a very strong day, frankly, but we’ll see. We’ll see. It was their idea to come back.”

Trump said he was more than happy to keep tariffs on Chinese goods if a deal could not be reached.

“They’ll see what they can do, but our alternative is, is an excellent one,” Trump said, referring to the tariff threat.


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