China's retaliatory tariffs on US goods take effect amid standoff

Published: June 1, 2019
US also begins collecting higher tariffs on many Chinese goods. PHOTO: REUTERS

US also begins collecting higher tariffs on many Chinese goods. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING: An increase in Chinese tariffs on most US imports on a $60 billion target list took effect as planned on Saturday, with Beijing retaliating against Washington’s escalation in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

The tariffs, announced on May 13 and taking effect as of midnight in Beijing (1600 GMT), apply additional 20% or 25% tariffs on more than half of the 5,140 US products targeted. Beijing had previously imposed additional rates of 5% or 10% on the targeted goods.

No further trade talks between top Chinese and US negotiators have been scheduled since the last round ended in a stalemate on May 10, the same day when US President Donald Trump announced higher tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and then took steps to levy duties on all remaining Chinese imports.

China ordered the latest tariff increases in response to Trump’s move.

Trump has accused China of breaking a deal to settle their trade dispute by reneging on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations. China has denied the allegations.

Beijing has grown more strident in recent weeks, accusing Washington of lacking sincerity and vowing that it will not cave in to the Trump administration’s demands. Its rhetoric has hardened particularly since Washington put Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd on a blacklist that effectively bans the firm from doing business with US companies.

Chinese state-owned newspapers warned this week that Beijing was ready to use its dominance in the production of rare earths – chemical elements used in everything from hi-tech consumer electronics to military equipment – in its trade war with the United States.

On the other hand, the United States began collecting higher 25% tariffs on many Chinese goods arriving in US seaports on Saturday morning following intensification of the trade war.

US President Donald Trump imposed the tariff increase on a $200 billion list of Chinese goods on May 10, but had allowed a grace period for sea-borne cargoes that departed China before that date, keeping them at the prior, 10% duty rate.

The US Trade Representative’s office in a May 15 Federal Register notice set a June 1 deadline for those goods to arrive in the United States, after which US Customs and Border Protection would begin collecting the 25% duty rate at US ports. The deadline expired at 12:01 am EDT on Saturday.

The tariff increase affects a broad range of consumer goods, and intermediate components from China including internet modems and routers, printed circuit boards, furniture, vacuum cleaners and lighting products.

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