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Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Trump's US$50B China tariffs met with retaliation vow from Beijing

Trump's US$50B China tariffs met with retaliation vow from Beijing

"This is not the right approach", Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.

On March 1, the Trump administration announced a global 25 percent tariff on all steel imports and a 10 percent global tariff on all aluminum imports.

"So much of our secrets - you know we have the great brain power in Silicon Valley - and China and others steal those secrets", he said, "And we're going to protect those secrets, those are crown jewels for this country". "Those are crown jewels for this country", Trump said on "Fox & Friends". The United States now dominates those industries, but Chinese government support has made it hard for USA companies to compete.

The US says tariffs are justified because of China firms' longstanding theft of US companies' intellectual property, and the move follows President Trump's decision to levy tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, the European Union and Japan, as relations between the leading G7 nations decline.

Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang also said China would cancel any commitments to increase purchases of USA exports should tariffs be imposed. In May, Chinese officials had promised to buy more American farm goods, natural gas and other products to narrow China's large trade surplus with the United States.

Washington and Beijing appeared increasingly headed toward a trade war after several rounds of negotiations failed to resolve US complaints over Chinese industrial policy, market access and a $375 billion trade gap.

"If the United States takes unilateral and protectionist measures that harm China's interests, we will make an immediate response and take necessary measures to defend our legitimate rights and interests", Geng told reporters without providing details. "The trade war was started many years ago by them and the United States lost", he said.

USA officials say the tariff hike targets goods that might benefit from Chinese theft of technology or pressure on foreign companies to hand it over in exchange for market access.

The White House had set a June 15 deadline for announcing the full list of items that will see a tariff imposed, focusing on areas of China's industry such as aerospace, robotics and machinery.

The president gave the green light after a meeting Thursday with top economic officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

"These tariffs are essential to preventing further unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China, which will protect American jobs".

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he would impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in Chinese imports.

In April, the U.S. revealed an initial list targeting about 1300 products worth $US50 billion in Chinese imports.

Beijing has promised to retaliate against any U.S. tariffs and Wang Yi, China's top diplomat, has warned USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo against any decision that would involve "confrontation and mutual loss".

China called on all countries to take action against the US' "outdated and regressive behaviour".

A formal announcement is expected to be made by the US Trade Representatives today with a notification in the Federal Register in the coming weeks.

The US and China have held three rounds of high-level talks since early last month, but have failed to reach a compromise.

Ten days later, the White House abruptly said it would proceed with the tariffs, along with new limits on Chinese investments in the United States.

Mr Trump has also previously warned of "additional tariffs" should China hit back.

Spain is already suffering at the hands of USA tariffs, with its olive industry particularly impacted.

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