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China slams tariffs on U.S. imports worth $16 billion

By Sheetal Sukhija, China News
09 Aug 2018, 21:24 GMT+10

BEIJING, China - Ratcheting up their fierce trade war, the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China slapped more tariffs on the each others’ goods.

On Tuesday, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the U.S. will begin collecting 25 percent tariffs on another $16 billion in Chinese goods on August 23.

The list of U.S. imports affected by the taxes includes coal, oil, chemicals and some medical equipment.

Responding a day later, China announced its counter-move and said that it will start imposing 25 percent import duties targeting $16 billion worth of U.S. goods. 

The world’s second-largest economy said that its newly announced tariffs will take effect immediately after the U.S. starts collecting tariffs on the same amount of Chinese goods.

While announcing the new tariffs this week, the USTR said in its statement that the latest $16 billion list will hit semiconductors from China, even though many of the basic chips in these products originate from the U.S., Taiwan or South Korea.

Further, it said that the 25 percent tariffs would apply to a broad range of Chinese electronics, plastics, chemicals and railway equipment - pointing out that these good had benefitted from the “Made in China 2025” industrial plan, aimed at making China competitive in high-technology industries.

The U.S. unveiled new tariffs after it held a 46-day public comment and review period on all the goods it had put together n a list.

Following this review, the USTR is said to have removed some items from its original list for holding the potential to cause “severe economic harm.”

The department revealed that these items included intermodal shipping containers, floating docks, splitting and slicing machines used with wood, bone and hard plastics, extremely thin slicing tools known as microtomes, and alginic acid, derived from seaweed and used in pharmaceuticals, textile printing and dental impressions.

Further, in its announcement this week, the U.S. also said that it is considering imposing further tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods - a move which officials have indicated could come into effect in September.

Meanwhile, the U.S. goods impacted by the latest tariffs, as mentioned in the list that China released along with its announcement on Wednesday, was slightly different from the draft list it released in June this year. 

The earlier draft had mentioned crude oil, which was dropped from the final list and instead, China added fish meal, wood waste, paper and paper waste, metal scraps and various types of bicycles and cars, among other products.

In its statement announcing the counter-tariffs, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said, “This is a very unreasonable practice.”

Further, China also mirrored America’s threat of slamming tariffs on another $60 billion of American imports.

Subsequently, China released a report saying it had reported a $28.1 billion trade surplus with the U.S. in July.

Beijing said that the figure was just below the record $28.9 billion witnessed in June and was 11 percent higher than in the same month last year.

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