China announces tariffs on $50B of US products

President Donald Trump walks to an interview on the North Lawn of the White House Friday

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Friday the United States would begin collecting duties on 818 Chinese imports valued at $34 billion as of July 6.

The Chinese government said the tariffs were damaging relations and China's offer to buy up to $70 billion of additional American products was invalid.

US soybean futures plummeted earlier this week on fears that a trade war was brimming and China would follow through on its threat of a 25 percent soybean tariff.

The Chinese government on Friday hit back with tariffs on USA goods, hours after President Donald Trump's announcement that the United States would hit $50 billion worth of Chinese goods with a 25% tariff. The announcement included the list of 1,102 Chinese products affected by the tariffs.

The $100 billion list will be subject to the same public comment and hearing process as the $50 billion list, so it could take 60 days or more to put into effect, three sources familiar with the Trump administration's thinking on tariff plans told Reuters.

It includes a list of products which USTR argues have benefited from Chinese industrial policies, including the Made in China 2025 policy.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Friday that China's response would be immediate and that Beijing would "take necessary measures to defend our legitimate rights and interests".

Earlier, China vowed to do just that, saying it would strike back, just hours before Trump's statement.

The back and forth has led to concerns of a global trade war.

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In a statement on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump defended the decision.

The Commerce Ministry said: "China does not want a trade war". The new lines will go through a separate review period before being before U.S. Customs and Border Control can collect additional taxes on those goods. "This isn't good news at all".

"The United States can no longer tolerate losing our technology and intellectual property through unfair economic practices", Trump said in a statement released by the Office of the White House Press Secretary. Among the specific goods listed by the Chinese government are "unrefined pig fat", coconuts with or without shell, all kinds of rice (including rice flour), frozen orange juice, whiskey, and octopus.

Ten days later, the White House abruptly said it would proceed with the tariffs.

"America's wheat farmers are experiencing continued drought, historically low commodity prices, and trade uncertainty", said Jimmie Musick, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and a wheat farmer from Sentinel, Oklahoma.

"China and the U.S. have conducted several rounds of consultations on economic and trade issues in an effort to resolve differences and achieve a win-win situation".

Trump began his tariff announcement by lauding his "great friendship" with Communist leader Xi Jinping, and how that and relations between the USA and China "are both very important to me". A senior Trump administration official told reporters that companies will be able to apply for exclusions for Chinese imports they can not source elsewhere.

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.

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