June 15 (UPI) — After weeks of threats about a potential trade war, President Donald Trump on Friday announced a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, a move Beijing retaliated against with its own set of tariffs.
Beginning July 6, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin flagging the first $34 billion worth of Chinese imports for the tariffs. A second set will follow, but was under review.
The list announced Friday focuses on China’s aerospace, robotics and machinery industries and includes 1,100 products.
A statement by Trump said the tariffs were being issued because China “has been engaging in several unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology.”
“We’re putting tariffs on $50 billion worth of technology and other things, because we have to,” Trump told reporters Friday. “Because we’ve been treated very unfairly.
“This situation is no longer sustainable.”
Within hours, China retaliated with its own tariffs on high-value U.S. exports, including on farm products, cars and crude oil. Beijing matched the U.S. rate of 25 percent on $50 billion worth of products.
China expanded its list of 659 types U.S. items to be tariffed.
On July 6, China will levy duties on $34 billion of U.S. goods, including soybeans, pork, chicken, seafood and some types of vehicles. The country will later levy tariffs on another $15 billion of goods, which include chemicals, coal, crude oil and medical devices.
On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Trump’s move harms bilateral interests and undermines world trade order.
“It is deeply regrettable that in disregard of the consensus between the two sides, the U.S. has demonstrated flip-flops and ignited a trade war,” Lu said in a statement. “China has no choice but to fight back forcefully. … We will immediately take tariff measures of the same scale and intensity.”
The outcomes of all previous talks are now off the table, Chinese officials said.
The Chinese tariffs are the latest imposed by the Trump administration, which announced duties last month against Mexico, Canada and the European Union. All three hit back with tariffs on U.S. goods.
After Friday’s announcement, the three main U.S. stock indices dropped — the Dow shedding 250 points.
On Thursday, Xi met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and said Beijing plans to stay in the thick of U.S.-North Korea negotiations while exercising influence over both sides, following the landmark summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Xi said the summit is “an important first step in the process of political resolution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.”
Pompeo said China should do more to reduce a surplus that’s “too high,” and make bilateral trade “more balanced, more reciprocal and more fair.”