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China slaps retaliatory tariffs on US products

Beijing, Monday

China on Monday imposed tariffs on 128 US imports worth $3 billion, including fruit and pork, retaliating for US duties on steel and aluminium that Beijing said “seriously infringed” Chinese interests.

The move, which was decided by the customs tariff commission of the State Council, followed weeks of rhetoric that has raised fears of a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

Trump administration had said its duties were aimed at steel and aluminium imports that it deemed a threat to US national security, but China’s Commerce Ministry on Monday called that reasoning an “abuse” of World Trade Organization (WTO) guidelines.

The US measures “are directed only at a few countries, seriously violating the principle of non-discrimination as a cornerstone of the multilateral trading system, which seriously infringed the interests of the Chinese side,” said a statement on the Commerce Ministry website.

Considering tariffs President Donald Trump has repeatedly railed against China’s massive trade surplus with the United States and promised during the election campaign to take steps to slash the US deficit.

Beijing had warned last month that it was considering the tariffs of 15 percent and 25 percent on a range of products that also include wine, nuts and aluminium scrap. They came into force on Monday, Xinhua said, citing a government statement. – AFP

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