Trade war looms as China retaliates against US import tariffs

The Trump administration has angered China by imposing new tariffs on $50bn of it its imports.

The world’s two largest economies are on the brink of a full-scale trade war, after China announced that it would retaliate against new US tariffs on $50bn in Chinese imports that will go into effect within days.

The new US import duties are aimed at forcing Beijing to stop what the White House claims is the systematic theft of US intellectual property and will apply to a wide range of products.

After the US announcement, China’s commerce ministry responded by saying that it would “immediately introduce countermeasures of the same scale and strength”, although it did not go into detail. 

 “All the economic and trade-related achievements previously reached by the two sides will be rendered invalid,” the ministry said, referring to the results of earlier rounds of China-US trade talks.

The White House’s decision to impose the new tariffs followed over a year of sabre-rattling by the Americans who had hoped for a negotiated settlement to reduce Chinese trade barriers before any duties were actually imposed.

Although talks between Beijing and Washington have ground to a halt, US President Donald Trump insisted he was still open to negotiation. “I have a wonderful relationship with President Xi [Jinping]. We’ll all work it out. He understands it’s unfair,” he said.

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