China to retaliate against Trump's trade tariffs with levies on more than 100 products

Business Insider US
  • China is retaliating against US tariffs.
  • State TV in China reports that Beijing will levy tariffs on more than 100 products traded with the USA.
  • Measures will include a 25% tariff on soybeans, automobiles and chemicals, according to reports.

China plans to impose tariffs on more than 100 different American products with a trading value of over $50 billion (R5.9 trillion), swiftly firing back at the USA just hours after the Trump administration made similar proposals.

According to Bloomberg, 106 US products are affected, including a 25% tariff on soybeans, automobiles and chemicals. Beijing's proposed levies will impact goods worth $50 billion per year.

China's government had effectively pre-announced the measures earlier on Wednesday, with China's Commerce Ministry saying in a statement earlier in the day that it would "soon take measures of equal intensity and scale against US goods."

Zhang Xiangchen, the Chinese ambassador to the World Trade Organisation urged members to "join with China in firmly resisting U.S. protectionism," according to Reuters. 

Details of the tariffs could be announced later today.

China's move comes less than 24 hours after the US announced an initial list of the products that will be subject to roughly $50 billion in new tariffs planned by President Trump.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer unveiled the list, which includes a wide array of products including raw materials, construction machinery, agricultural equipment, electronics, medical devices, and consumer goods.

The 25% tariff will apply to roughly $50 billion worth of goods coming from China. The tariffs are the result of an investigation by the trade representative into the Chinese government's alleged theft of intellectual property.

The USA's proposed tariffs target specific industries that China identified as part of its Made in China 2025 plan — an initiative being undertaken by the Chinese government to "comprehensively upgrade Chinese industry."

WTO ambassador Xiangchen said that the moves were "an intentional and gross violation of the WTO’s fundamental principles of non-discrimination and bound tariffs."

Beijing's move is the latest in an escalating trade battle between the world's two biggest economies, a skirmish that many fear could lead to a full scale trade war — something which is widely expected to negatively impact global economic growth.

Last month, analysts at Australian bank Macquarie argued that in the scenario of a "full trade war" the US would enter a recession in 2019, while unemployment would more than double from current levels.

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