Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Finance | By Jaime Brady

White House slams China’s ‘weak’ tariff threat and ‘lousy’ economy

White House slams China’s ‘weak’ tariff threat and ‘lousy’ economy

China will impose differentiated tariffs on $60 billion in USA goods if the United States presses ahead with its latest trade threats, Beijing warned Friday.

Duties ranging from 5 per cent to 25 per cent will be levied on 5,207 kinds of American imports if the USA delivers its proposed taxes on another US$200 billion of Chinese goods, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website late Friday.

The statement said the date of implementation of the taxes will depend on the "actions of the U.S. side" and China reserves the right to apply "other countermeasures".

The US imposed 25 per cent tariffs on $US34 billion of Chinese products in early July, and the review period on another $US16 billion of imports ends on Wednesday.

A top adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump said the newly proposed tariffs were not as severe as the White House had been bracing for, and he warned China not to test Trump's resolve.

Days later, Washington unveiled a list of another US$200 billion in Chinese goods, from areas as varied as electrical machinery, leather goods and seafood, that would be hit with 10 per cent import duties. China's trading partners complain those might violate its market-opening pledges by subsidizing or shielding Chinese companies from competition.

"Other presidents have raised the issue of China's illegal and unfair trading and so forth", Kudlow said.

The two countries have been embroiled for months in a trade conflict that has threatened to hurt consumers in both countries.

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Why is China threatening more tariffs?

The commerce ministry threat came after Wang met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Singapore on Friday.

Answering a reporter's question about what was specifically said on trade, Wang said: "We did not speak in such details".

Among US products targeted were a wide range of agricultural and energy products such as beef and LNG.

The market is not large by value compared with approximately $12 billion of USA crude that came to China previous year, but LNG imports could shoot up as Beijing forges ahead with its plan to switch millions of households to the fuel away from coal.

Today's new tariffs are set at levels of 25, 20, 10 and five percent.

China's biggest US imports by value in 2017 were aircraft and related equipment, soybeans and autos.

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