BEIJING – The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced on Friday that it is considering imposing tariffs of up to $3 billion on imports of some products from the United States to compensate for losses caused by the US government’s planned heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum products from China.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced its plan to impose tariffs on US imports in a statement, in which it added that the government is also planning to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), citing the new US tariff package as possible interference in international trade.
The measures, which will be applied to 128 US products, seek to suspend tariff concessions on US imports, as well as levy an additional 15-percent tax on wine, nuts, fruit and steel pipes and another 25 percent on recycled aluminum or pork products.
The plan would be applied in two stages: first, a 15-percent tariff would be imposed on a total of 120 products worth $977 million, and secondly, an extra rate of 25 percent would be levied on others products worth $1.9 billion.
China justified its countermeasures as a way “to balance losses caused to Chinese interests by the US tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.”
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump announced his decision to impose new tax measures on China, which are worth up to $60 billion a year, over alleged misappropriation of US intellectual property, adding to its controversial plan to charge tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum.
Beijing claimed to have unsuccessfully tried to settle the tariff dispute with Washington, which eventually led them to resort to the WTO to “maintain the stability and authority of multilateral trade rules with other members.”
Amid the escalating tension surrounding a possible trade war between the two world economic powers, China Friday insisted that cooperation is the only way to resolve these conflicts, and urged the US to negotiate to avoid damaging bilateral relations.
“China doesn’t hope to be in a trade war, but is not afraid of engaging in one,” the statement added.
The current trade frictions between Washington and Beijing generated a very negative effect on the markets. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange plummeted 3.11 percent in just over an hour of the trading, while the Chinese stock market in Shanghai dropped by 2.68 percent and its counterpart in Shenzhen by 2.74 percent.