China to hit USA with tariffs on USA imports worth $16bn

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The Trump administration announced today that it would impose 25 per cent tariffs on imports of 279 items from China amounting to Dollars 16 billion.

The US levied 25% duties on $34 billion in Chinese goods on 6 July, prompting swift in-kind retaliation from Beijing.

China has already retaliated with duties of its own, and has pledged to match the USA dollar for dollar with new tariffs.

The Semiconductor Industry Association said in a statement that tariffs imposed on semiconductors imported from China will hurt American chipmakers rather than Chinese firms.

The world's two biggest economies are locked in a trade dispute over Washington's charges that China uses predatory tactics in a drive to supplant USA technological supremacy. Washington applied a 25% tariff on Chinese imports including airplane tires and various industrial parts.

Talks between the two countries on the issues have failed to produce an agreement, prompting China to retaliate with tariffs of its own and US President Donald Trump to escalate his threats.

Sales to the U.S. rose by 13.3%, while China's surplus with the States shrank marginally to $28.1bn (£21.7bn) last month from a record $29bn (£22.4bn) in June.

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"There is no off-ramp, and Trump has given China little wiggle room to save face and come to the bargaining table", he said.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says the tariffs are in response to China's "unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property". So far, despite the rhetoric, only $37bn worth of imports into China and the U.S. have actually been affected.

China has repeatedly warned it will strike back against any further punitive measures by Trump, saying the United States is threatening the global free trade order with its protectionism.

All China's main state newspapers published a lengthy commentary by the official Xinhua news agency, entitled "declaration", on their front pages.

In April, the administration had announced plans to slap tariffs on 1,333 Chinese product lines worth $50 billion a year.

"Although this may for a moment bring preening with delight, it will make it hard to resolve economic imbalances or out of kilter politics and other deep-rooted problems".

The latest $16 billion list from the United States will hit semiconductors from China, even though numerous basic chips in these products originate from the United States, Taiwan or South Korea.

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