China threatens tariffs on $60 billion in United States goods

Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a meeting during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China's Ministry of Transport in Beijing

China threatens further tariffs on US$ 60 billion worth of U.S. imports

China has threatened to slap import tax on about $60 billion of us imports, with tax rates ranging from 5 to 25 percent, the country's commerce ministry said on Friday, calling the proposed tariff "rational and restrained".

The retaliation stands to further inflame tensions between the world's two biggest economies and echoes China's response to the previous round of tariffs which took effect last month.

"We have been very clear about the specific changes China should undertake".

The Chinese finance ministry said 5,207 goods imported from the United States could be subjected to the fresh tariffs, with levies ranging from 5% to 25% on products including aircraft, soya bean oil, smoked beef, coffee and flour.

On March 1, President Donald Trump announced that the USA would be slapping a 25 percent tariff on all steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on all aluminum imports.

President Trump has threatened to up the ante further by slapping £150bn ($200bn) worth of Chinese goods with levies of up to 25 percent.

Officials, however, downplayed suggestions that the move was meant to compensate for the recent decline in the value of the Chinese currency, which has threatened to take much of the sting out of Trump's tariffs by making imports cheaper.

President Donald Trump asked the US Trade Representative to consider increasing the proposed tariffs to 25 per cent from the planned 10 per cent, USTR Robert Lighthizer said.

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Washington and Beijing are locked in a battle over American accusations that China's export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as from the theft of American technological know-how.

The latest round of U.S. tariffs would range between five per cent and 25 per cent and would hit 5,027 products - a variety of agricultural goods such as beef, as well as small planes, chemical components, textiles, liquefied natural gas and condoms.

Washington had already imposed import tariffs on $34bn of Chinese goods last month, with Beijing immediately retaliating. Jake Colvin, vice president of the National Foreign Trade Council, said the Trump administration could be boxing itself into a corner. Washington also wants China to stop subsidizing Chinese companies with cheap loans, claiming that this allows them to compete unfairly.

The US dollar has been strengthening since April as the central bank has been raising lending rates, which draws investors looking for higher returns.

"Cooperation is the only right choice for China and the United States", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Singapore, according to China's official Xinhua news agency.

"Some of the currency fall though I think is just money leaving China because it's a lousy investment, and if that continues that will really damage the Chinese economy", Kudlow said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday with Jonathan Ferro.

Friday's threat targeting a smaller amount of US goods reflects the fact that Beijing is running out products for retaliation due to its lopsided trade balance with the United States.

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