Trump approves $50B in Chinese tariffs; Beijing vows retaliation

Trump approves $50B in Chinese tariffs; Beijing vows retaliation

June 15 (UPI) — After weeks of exchanging 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 plans to retaliate against.

Beginning July 6, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin flagging the first $34 billion worth of Chinese imports for the tariffs and a second set will follow, but still 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 are being issued because China “has been engaging in several unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology.”

“My great friendship with President Xi of China and our country’s relationship with China are both very important to me,” Trump said. “Trade between our nations, however, has been very unfair, for a very long time. This situation is no longer sustainable.”

China has vowed to retaliate with tariffs on U.S. products that include everything from sorghum, soybeans, meat and whiskey to airplanes and cars.

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.”