China poised to levy $60 billion in tariffs
Move will be made if United States fulfills latest trade threat
The Associated Press
BEIJING — China said Friday it is poised to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports, including coffee, honey and industrial chemicals, if Washington goes ahead with its latest trade threat.
China’s Finance Ministry accused the Trump administration of damaging the global economy after the U.S. proposed increasing duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods in the second round of a dispute over technology.
“China is forced to take countermeasures,” said a ministry statement. It said retaliatory duties of between 5 and 25 percent will be imposed on 5,207 products “if the U.S. side persists in putting its tariff measures into effect.”
Washington imposed 25 percent duties on $34 billion of Chinese goods on July 6 in response to complaints that Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Beijing retaliated by imposing similar charges on the same amount of U.S. products.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Friday that “instead of retaliating, China should address longstanding concerns about its unfair trading practices.”
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman had earlier called on Washington to “come to its senses” and settle the dispute.
Chinese leaders have offered to narrow their politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more American goods. But they have rejected changing technology development plans they see as a path to prosperity and global influence.
There’s no end in sight, and the dispute could chill global trade and economic growth.
China’s new threat targeting a smaller amount of U.S. goods reflects the fact that Beijing is running out of products for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the United States.
China’s imports from the United States last year totaled $153.9 billion. After the earlier tariffs $34 billion of U.S. goods, about $120 billion is available for retaliation.
The highest penalties on the new list would be imposed on honey, vegetables, mushrooms and chemicals, targeting farming and mining areas that supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
The new list includes products as varied as snow blowers and 3-D printers, suggesting Chinese authorities are struggling to find enough imports their own economy can do without.