China vows to retaliate if Trump launches fresh round of tariffs
China has pledged to retaliate if the US raises tariffs on $300bn worth of Chinese goods, further escalating tit-for-tat threats during recently restarted trade talks.
US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he planned to impose a 10 per cent tariff on $300bn of additional Chinese goods from September 1, just hours after Chinese and American negotiators concluded a fresh round of high-level talks in Shanghai.
The negotiations had marked the first round of face-to-face meetings since Mr Trump agreed a trade war truce with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Osaka last month, paving the way for a return to talks after the previous round collapsed in May.
China’s commerce ministry on Friday said that it was “strongly dissatisfied” with the US announcement, which “seriously violates” the agreement reached by Messrs Trump and Xi.
If the tariffs are imposed, then China “will have to take necessary countermeasures,” a ministry spokesman said. “All the consequences will be borne by the US,” he added.
China has repeatedly said it will retaliate in kind for any US tariffs and has pledged to use unspecified “qualitative” measures if it is unable to impose an equal value of tariffs, due to the trade imbalance between the two countries.
Mr Trump also suggested that negotiations had gone badly, and that China was failing to follow through on its pledges to buy more US farm products and restrict the flow of fentanyl to America.
China’s commerce ministry on Thursday said that Chinese companies had begun asking for quotes from US companies for soyabeans, cotton, port and sorghum on July 19 and that some new purchases had been made, without giving any figures.
China’s foreign ministry also suggested that the threat from Mr Trump could scupper plans for a second round of negotiations in Washington next month.
Asked whether the announced plans would still go ahead, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, “We believe the ball is currently in the United States’ court. At this time, the United States must demonstrate sincerity.”
Hu Xijin, editor of the nationalist state-run Global Times tabloid, said that the new round of tariffs would have the opposite effect of what Mr Trump was intending.
“New tariffs will by no means bring closer a deal that the US wants, it will only make it further away,” Mr Hu tweeted.