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

Trump approves $50B in tariffs on Chinese goods; 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 China plans to retaliate against.

Beginning July 6, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin collecting the first $34 billion worth of Chinese imports with a second set to follow, which is 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 retaliation in a list tariffs on U.S. products that include everything from sorghum, soybeans, meat and whiskey to airplanes and cars.

On Friday, Lu Kang, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said Trump’s move not bilateral interests, but also 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,” the spokesman said via a statement. “China has no choice but to fight back forcefully, to firmly safeguard the interests of the nation and its people and uphold economic globalization and the multilateral trading system. We will immediately take tariff measures of the same scale and intensity.”

Outcomes of all previous talks between the two countries are off the table, according to the Chinese statement.

The Chinese tariffs are the latest imposed by the Trump administration, which includes tariffs on allies Mexico, Canada and the European Union, a move Trump says is in the interest of national security. All three issued tariffs on U.S. goods in retaliation.

After the announcement on Friday, stocks dropped with the Dow Jones industrial average falling 250 points and both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite fell 0.6 percent.

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 told Chinese officials Beijing should do more to reduce a “too high” surplus, and bilateral trade should become “more balanced, more reciprocal and more fair.”