China slaps tariffs on 128 US products

Beijing— China has slapped new tariffs on 128 US products, including pork and fruits, worth about USD 3 billion in response to the duties on imports of steel and aluminium imposed by the Trump administration, its Ministry of Commerce said Monday.

The ministry said the central cabinet has decided to impose a tariff of 15 per cent on 120 American products, including fruits and related products, and a tariff of 25 per cent on eight items, including pork and related products, imported from the US.

The decision was a “countermeasure” in response to the US move to slap tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, it said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump had on March 23 signed a memorandum that could impose tariffs up to USD 60 billions on imports from China and restrictions on Chinese investment in America.

China’s Ministry of Commerce had announced last week that it was considering suspending tariff concessions on 128 categories of US products, including pork, wine and seamless steel tubes, worth USD 3 billion, according to a report by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The ministry today said China advocates and supports a multi-lateral trade system, but suspending tariff concession on the US imports was a “just move” to safeguard the country’s interests using the Word Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

Although in violation of the WTO rules, the US measure, which came into effect from March 23, has severely undermined China’s interests, the statement said.

Despite worldwide objections, the US decided to impose a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium from many countries, including China, the Xinhua reported.

China is keeping big-ticket items like soybeans, sorghum and Boeing airplanes for heavy tariffs to counter Trump’s imposing tariffs on Chinese products to reduce about USD 375 billion trade deficit between the two countries.

After signing the memorandum, Trump had asked China to immediately cut trade deficit by USD 100 billion.

The memorandum is based on the Section 301 investigation into alleged Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices, launched by the Trump administration in August 2017, according to the report.

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