China Imposes New Tariffs on US, Accuses Washington of 'Trade Bullyism'

A worker at a factory in China sews a banner for US President Donald Trump's re-election campaign that reads

China calls US an 'economic bully' as Trump imposes $200bn of trade tariffs

Beijing accused the White House of lying and bullying this morning as the trade war between the world's two largest economies escalated.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had invited Chinese officials to hold new talks, but President Donald Trump's latest salvo - and warnings that another $267 billion of goods are being lined up - appear to have scuttled that effort.

Beijing's latest tariffs include an additional 5 per cent duty on about 1,600 kinds of USA products including computers and textiles and an extra 10 per cent on more than 3,500 items including chemicals, meat, wheat, wine and liquefied natural gas. Trump has warned that the 10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion in Chinese goods will rise to 25 per cent in January if Beijing refuses to offer concessions.

As China called off planned trade talks with US officials, the latest round of retaliatory tariffs went into effect on Monday.

Chart showing the 2017 value of sectors that will be hit by President Donald Trump's new $200 billion duties in Chinese-made goods imports
Huge US-China punitive tariffs take effect

Soon after the new duties went into effect, China accused the United States of engaging in "trade bullyism" and said it was intimidating other countries to submit to its will, the official Xinhua news agency said, reiterating China's willingness to fight if necessary.

At a conference Tuesday, the Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce - Wang Shouwen - said negotiations with the USA depend on the willingness of the White House.

Fu Ziying, another vice minister of commerce, noted that some in the United States accuse Beijing of engaging in unfair competitive practices, causing the huge trade deficit between the two countries.

Although a senior White House official said last week the U.S. would continue to engage China "for a positive way forward", neither side has signaled any willingness to compromise.

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Neither side has backed down since the tit-for-tat tariff war began in July when the USA imposed duties on US$34 billion of Chinese goods.

The trade war between the U.S. and China has escalated in recent days, and the likelihood of a near-term solution is quickly fading.

Business groups say American companies report Chinese regulators also are stepping up pressure on them by slowing down customs clearance and increasing environmental and other inspections.

Isaac Boltansky, a policy analyst at the research and trading firm Compass Point, said the broadside against China and continued threats of tariffs could trigger a more forceful response from Beijing.

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"To improve the ability of companies to adapt, China will further reduce their [social insurance] fees and taxes", Lian said.

Monday's tariff hike follows a report by The Wall Street Journal that Chinese officials pulled out of a meeting to discuss possible talks proposed by Washington. Navarro said the goal now is structural realignment where all countries the USA trades with engage in "free, fair, and reciprocal" agreements.

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