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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

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.”

chinese imports, tariffs
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.

chinese imports, tariffs
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.”

tariffs, chinese imports
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.

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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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