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US Increased Tariffs on Chinese Imports go Into Effect, China to Take “Necessary Countermeasures”

Trump says despite being poised to impose the additional tariffs, he is not looking for a trade war with Beijing

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Trump's remarks came a day after NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told USA Today that US astronauts would not be able to make a lunar landing . VOA

The United States has increased tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. China on Friday said it “deeply regrets” the increased tariffs and will take the “necessary countermeasures” without giving any details.

The increases are going into effect amid talks between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

On Thursday the U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators ended the first of two days of talks aimed at saving a trade deal even as President Donald Trump said the new “very heavy tariffs” on Chinese products would go ahead.

The White House said Thursday evening that “Ambassador Lightizer and Secretary Mnuchin met with President Trump to discuss the ongoing trade negotiations with China. The ambassador and secretary then had a working dinner with Vice Premier Liu He and agreed to continue discussions tomorrow morning at USTR.”

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FILE – Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, right, gestures as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, center, chats with his Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer before their meeting in Beijing, May 1, 2019. VOA

Talks on Friday

Liu He is leading the Chinese negotiating team for the talks, which threatened to collapse after the Trump administration accused Beijing of backtracking.

“We were getting very close to a deal, then they started to renegotiate the deal,” said Trump Thursday in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

“It was their idea to come back” and resume discussion ahead of the Friday deadline for additional tariffs, the president said. Trump said he had also received “a beautiful letter” from Xi that expressed a sentiment of “let’s work together.”

Trump told reporters that he happens “to think tariffs for our country are very powerful,” in line with a view he has been expressing that such increased punitive taxes would be good for America’s economy.

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FILE – Shoppers sit on a bench with a decorated with U.S. flag browsing their smartphones outside a fashion boutique selling U.S. brand clothing at the capital city’s popular shopping mall in Beijing. VOA

Tariffs and economic growth

Some economists, however, predict such tariffs would cut in half the U.S. economic growth seen in the first quarter of this year.

Earlier officials in Beijing said they have “made all necessary preparations” if Trump followed through on the pledge to impose the new set of tariffs.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing Thursday that China will not bow to any pressure and warned it has the “determination and ability to defend its own interests.”

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Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng gestures as journalists raise hands for questions during a press conference at the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, April 6, 2018. VOA

The ministry issued an earlier statement vowing to take any necessary countermeasures if the tax is implemented.

The Trump administration hopes the new tariffs will force changes in China’s trade, subsidy and intellectual property practices.

ALSO READ: Trump to Fight Health Care Sticker Shock by Limiting “Surprise Medical Bills”

The two sides have been unable to reach a deal thanks, in part, to differences over the enforcement of an agreement and a timeline for removing the tariffs.

Trump says despite being poised to impose the additional tariffs, he is not looking for a trade war with Beijing. “I want to get along with China,” he told reporters. (VOA)

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Micro-blogging Site Twitter Aims to Restrict Users, Not World Leaders Like Trump

"These are constantly evolving challenges and we'll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm," it added

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Twitter is a social media app that encourages short tweets and brief conversations. Pixabay

Stating that world leaders are not above its policies “entirely,” Twitter has decided to restrict how users can interact with harmful tweets from world leaders who break its rules, but did not clarify whether it will remove or block the world leader like US President Donald Trump from doing so.

The micro-blogging platform said it will not allow users to like, reply, share or retweet offending posts from world leaders.

“You will not be able to like, reply, share, or Retweet the Tweet in question. You will still be able to express your opinion with Retweet with Comment,” the company said on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially. In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve public conversation, and protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account,” it added.

Twitter has been facing pressure to take action against US President Donald Trump for posting controversial tweets, but the micro-blogging platform has been evading action.

Earlier this month, California Senator Kamala Harris, who is a 2020 Democrat presidential candidate, asked Twitter to suspend Trump’s account for attacking lawmakers and the whistleblower behind a complaint on his shady dealings with Ukraine.

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A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

“Trump’s Twitter account should be suspended. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that he is irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm as the privilege of using those words in that way should probably be taken from him,” Harris told CNN.

Trump has repeatedly used Twitter to attack his political opponents.

In a series of tweets, he said that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff should be arrested for treason for exaggerating parts of phone call Trump had with Zelensky.

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If a tweet from a world leader does violate its rules, but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, the company said on Tuesday that it “may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content”.

“With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognise that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarised political culture,” said Twitter.

“These are constantly evolving challenges and we’ll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm,” it added. (IANS)