The Trump administration said on Friday that the us would impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products, provoking a direct retaliation from Beijing and escalating a what is now definitely a "trade war" between the world's two largest economies.
According to the US Trade Representative's (USTR) office, the tariffs would come in two parts.
"US-China trade tensions will be long-lasting", said Yifan Hu, regional chief investment officer and chief China economist at UBS Wealth Management told a briefing in Beijing.
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"Imposing tariffs places the cost of China's unfair trade practices squarely on the shoulders of American consumers, manufacturers, farmers, and ranchers", said Thomas Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce. "The United States can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices".
In a White House statement, Trump explained that the tariffs - which are scheduled to take effect in July - will target "industrially significant technologies" related to China's "Made in China 2025" program, like automobiles, robotics, and other high-tech products.
And the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned that hundreds of thousands of Americans could lose their jobs if the trade war escalated and included the auto import tariffs that Trump has threatened. We lost $500 billion in trade deficits past year. The first will be levied on 818 products lines worth around $34 billion, and the second to $16 billion worth of imports on 284 products.
Officials in China have declared a trade war with the United States.
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The DHS official also rejected as "not true" various reports of wrongdoing, including the turning away of some asylum-seekers. The process can take several weeks. "If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you".
"China and the US have conducted several rounds of negotiations in an attempt to resolve our differences and achieve win-win results", a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry said on Friday.
The US president said the new tariffs were created to punish China for the theft of American intellectual property and technology.
The US and China have held three rounds of high-level talks since early last month, but have failed to reach a compromise. He also vowed further measures if Beijing struck back.
Washington and Beijing appeared increasingly headed toward a trade war after several rounds of negotiations failed to resolve U.S. complaints over Chinese industrial policy, market access and a $375 billion trade gap. It added, "There is no victor in a trade war, and the USA instigation of a trade war is extremely destructive to global trade, economic globalisation, multilateral trade systems and global production supply chains".
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President Donald Trump has already placed tariffs on the import of steel and aluminium from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, eliciting widespread criticism amongst the parties involved.