China Hits Back at the US With Equal Tariffs on $16B in Imports

True to its word, Beijing is striking back at the Trump administration after an announcement yesterday that the United States finalized a second set of tariffs on Chinese imports.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Tuesday released a list of 279 targeted goods worth $16 billion that will be subject to 25 percent levies starting August 23. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce had previously warned President Donald Trump that it was prepared to invoke retaliatory tariffs as well as increase regulation for American companies that are doing business in this country.

“If the U.S. takes unilateral and protectionist measures that harm Chinese interests, we will respond immediately by taking the necessary decisions to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.

China’s list includes 333 targeted goods, primarily automotive, plastic products and various fuels.

Last month, the U.S. placed an equal amount of levies on $34 billion in Chinese goods, bringing the total worth of levied imports to $50 billion.

The tit-for-tat skirmish between two of the world’s largest economies have escalated in the past couple months as Trump has pushed for a more protectionist stance on trade. The president has previously cast tariffs as an effective negotiation tactic, claiming that they are the “greatest” and that the U.S. is a “piggy bank that’s being robbed” by other nations.

“Countries that have treated us unfairly on trade for years are all coming to Washington to negotiate,” he wrote in a tweet dated two weeks ago. “This should have taken place many years ago but, as the saying goes, better late than never!”

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