By Sahid Fawaz
The tariff wars between the US and China are officially underway.
“China is showing the United States that it will make good on its trade threats.
The Chinese government said that tariffs on about $3 billion worth of US imports are going into effect Monday, hitting 128 products ranging from pork, meat and fruit to steel pipes.
It’s the latest move in escalating tensions between the world’s two largest economies, which some experts fear could turn into a trade war.
Beijing says the new sanctions on 128 US products, which it first proposed 10 days ago, are in response to President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from China and some other countries.
But Trump also has more measures in the works aimed specifically at China. He has announced plans to slap tariffs on about $50 billion worth of Chinese goods following an investigation by his administration into the theft of intellectual property from US companies.
The administration has said those tariffs will punish the Chinese aerospace, technology and machinery industries, but it hasn’t announced which specific products will be hit.
The tariffs also won’t take effect right away. A US fact sheet says the administration will take public comments for 30 days on the proposed action. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told CNBC last week that the public comment period would be 60 days.
In the meantime, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the United States and China are talking behind the scenes in hopes of preventing an escalation.
It’s unclear how China would respond to those aggressive measures. For now, Beijing is focusing on its response to the steel and aluminum tariffs.
China’s commerce and finance ministries said in statements late Sunday that authorities are imposing tariffs of 15% on 120 American products — such as fruits, nuts, wine and steel pipes — and 25% on eight other products, including pork and recycled aluminum.
Those products make up just a tiny portion of the hundreds of billions of dollars of goods shipped between the two countries each year. But the tariffs are alarming news for the affected industries.”
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