Beijing has vowed to retaliate after the United States published a list of about 1,300 Chinese products it plans to hit with a 25 per cent tariff. The White House said the proposed extra tax on the imports was a response to unfair Chinese practices around intellectual property rights.
The wide-ranging list includes items such as medical products, televisions and motorcycles. Beijing said it “strongly condemns and firmly opposes” the tariffs.
“Such unilateralistic and protectionist action has gravely violated fundamental principles and values of the World Trade Organisation (WTO),” the Chinese embassy in Washington said in a statement on Wednesday.
China said the US action did not serve either country’s interests and “even less the interest of the global economy”. “As the Chinese saying goes, it is only polite to reciprocate,” the statement added.
“The Chinese side will resort to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism and take corresponding measures of equal scale and strength against US products in accordance with Chinese law.”
Economists had previously warned the Trump administration’s move to slap China with the tariffs could prompt Beijing to retaliate and lead to higher prices for American consumers.
The release of the list comes just after China hit $3 billion (Sh303 billion) worth of US products with tariffs in response to steel and aluminium tariffs the US has imposed.
The products on the list the US published on Tuesday represent imports worth about $50 billion (Sh5.1 trillion) annually.
The office of the US Trade Representative, which handles trade negotiations, said the amount was “appropriate both in light of the estimated harm to the US economy and to obtain elimination of China’s harmful acts, policies and practices”.
A final list will be determined after a public comment period and review, expected to last about two months. When announcing its intentions to retaliate against the US tariffs on Wednesday, the Chinese embassy in Washington said it hoped the US would “with sense and long-term picture in mind, refrain from going down the wrong path”. – BBC