Latest: China raises tariffs on $60bn of US products in response to Trump's increase

Update: China has announced a tariff hike on $60bn of US products in response to President Donald Trump's latest duty increase in a dispute over Beijing's technology policy.

The announcement followed a warning by an American business group that a "downward spiral" in their conflict appeared certain following President Trump's penalties on $200bn of Chinese goods.

The Finance Ministry said it was going ahead with plans announced in August for the increases of 10% and 5% on 5,207 types of US goods.

A list released last month included coffee, honey and industrial chemicals.

The increase is aimed at curbing "trade friction" and the "unilateralism and protectionism of the United States", the ministry said on its website.

It appealed for "pragmatic dialogue" to "jointly safeguard the principle of free trade and the multilateral trading system".

China in counter-measures warning to US amid spiralling trade war

Update: China has said it will take “counter-measures” over US president Donald Trump’s decision to raise tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports.

The comments came as an American business group warned that a “downward spiral” in their trade battle appears certain.

Beijing’s commerce ministry gave no details of China’s response to US tariffs imposed in their fight over Chinese technology policy, although a list of $60bn of American goods was released earlier.

The Trump administration announced the tariffs on some 5,000 Chinese-made goods will start at 10%, beginning on Monday. They rise to 25% on January 1.

The Chinese commerce ministry said: “We deeply regret this.

“China will adopt counter-measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and the global free trade order.”

The American Chamber of Commerce in China warned Washington is underestimating Beijing's determination to fight back.

Chamber chairman William Zarit said: "The downward spiral that we have previously warned about now seems certain to materialise.

"Contrary to views in Washington, China can - and will - dig its heels in and we are not optimistic about the prospect for a resolution in the short term.

"No one will emerge victorious from this counter-productive cycle."

The chamber appealed to both governments for "results-oriented negotiations".

Trump imposes tariffs on another $200bn dollars of Chinese goods

The Trump administration is imposing tariffs on $200bn more in Chinese goods, starting next week.

The move escalates a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies and raises prices on consumer goods ranging from handbags to bicycle tyres.

The tariffs will start at 10% and rise to 25% starting on January 1.

President Donald Trump made the announcement on Monday evening in a move that is sure to ratchet up hostilities between Washington and Beijing.

Mr Trump has already imposed 25%tariffs on 50 billion dollars in Chinese goods.

China has retaliated in kind, hitting American soybeans, among other goods, in a shot at the president’s supporters in the US farm belt.

Beijing has warned that it would hit an additional $60bn in American products if Mr Trump ordered more tariffs.

Mr Trump on Monday threatened to raise the stakes again if Beijing should retaliate, adding a further $267bn in Chinese imports to the target list. That would raise the total to $517bn — covering nearly everything China sells the United States.

After taking in public comments, the administration said on Monday that it had withdrawn several items from an earlier list of $200bn dollars in Chinese imports, including child-safety products such as bicycle helmets.

Asian shares were mostly lower on Monday on reports that Donald Trump would place tariffs on $200bn more of Chinese goods (Andy Wong/AP)

In a victory for Apple Inc and its American customers, the administration removed smart watches and some other consumer electronics products from the list of goods imported from China.

At the same time, the administration said it is still open to negotiations with China.

“China has had many opportunities to fully address our concerns,” Mr Trump said in a statement.

“Once again, I urge China’s leaders to take swift action to end their country’s unfair trade practices.”

The two countries are fighting over Beijing’s ambitions to supplant American technological supremacy.

The Office of the US Trade Representative charged in a March report that China is using predatory tactics to obtain foreign technology, including hacking US companies to steal their trade secrets and forcing them to turn over their know-how in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

Mr Trump has also complained about America’s massive trade deficit — $336bn last year — with China, its biggest trading partner.

In May, in fact, it looked briefly as if Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese vice premier Liu He had brokered a truce built around Chinese promises to buy enough American farm products and liquefied natural gas to put a dent in the trade deficit.

But Mr Trump quickly backed away from the truce.

In the first two rounds of tariffs, the Trump administration was careful to try to spare consumers from the direct impact of the import taxes.

The levies focused on industrial products, not on things Americans buy at shopping centres or via Amazon.

By expanding the list to $200bn worth of Chinese imports, Mr Trump risks spreading the pain to ordinary Americans.

The administration is targeting a bewildering variety of products — from sockeye salmon to bamboo mats — forcing US companies to scramble for suppliers outside China, absorb the import taxes or pass along the burden to their customers.

In a filing with the government, for instance, Giant Bicycles Inc of Newbury Park, California, noting that 94% of imported bicycles came from China last year, complained that “there is no way our business can shift its supply chain to a new market” to avoid the tariffs and warned “a tariff increase of this magnitude will inevitably be paid for by the American consumer”.

Mr Trump has reversed decades of US policy in favour of ever-freer trade. He campaigned on a promise to tax imports and rewrite or tear up trade agreements that he said put US companies and workers at a disadvantage.

“The president’s negotiating tactics do not work well with China’s way of thinking,” said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at SS Economics in Los Angeles.

“I think things will get worse. I fully expect the tariff rate will go up to 25%.”

- Press Association

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