The foreign ministry said on Monday that China will respond if the United States takes any new steps on trade. This has come after President Donald Trump warned that he was ready to impose tariffs on virtually all Chinese imports into the United States.
Trump said on Friday that he was ready to levy additional taxes on practically all the Chinese imports, threatening duties on $267 billion worth of goods. This would have been over and above planned tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products.
When asked about Trump’s warning, foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that if the United States side obstinately clings to the course it has decided and takes any new tariff measures against China, then the Chinese side would also definitely take counter measures to resolutely protect their legitimate rights.
He however did not elaborate much on what measure China would take in such a scenario.
Since July this year, the United States and China have put additional tariffs on $50 billion of each other’s goods. The trade friction between the world’s two biggest economies have worsened, in spite of several attempts of negotiations.
President Trump has heavily criticized China’s record trade surplus with the United States. He has also demanded that Beijing cut it immediately.
There have also been tensions over intellectual property protection, limits on U.S. firms’ access to Chinese markets, investment and technology transfers.
In August this year, China had unveiled a proposed list of retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods which included liquefied natural gas to some types of aircraft, in case Washington activates the tariffs on its $200 billion list.
Beijing said at that time, the tariffs would range from 5 percent to 25 percent and would apply to 5,207 products, and China would adopt the additional duties based on U.S. actions.
China has proposed or either imposed tariffs on $110 billion of U.S. goods, representing most of its American imports. It should be noted that crude oil and large aircraft are still not targeted for penalties.
The U.S. list of $200 billion of Chinese goods includes some consumer products such as cameras and recording devices, handbags, tires luggage and vacuum cleaners, with additional tariffs ranging from 10 percent to 25 percent.
Mobile telephones which are the biggest U.S. import from China had been spared till now. However they would be engulfed if Trump activates the $267 billion tariff list.
The threatened tariffs cover a total of $517 billion in Chinese goods. This would exceed last year’s goods imports of $505 billion from China.
What seems interesting is that China’s official export data has been surprisingly very resilient, with growth exceeding the expectations of analysts’ for five months in a row.