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China strikes back with tariff hikes on $60 billion US imports


China said on Monday it would impose higher tariffs on a range of about $60 billion worth of US goods, effective on June 1, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Finance on Monday.

The move is China’s strike back in its trade war with Washington less than two hours after US President Donald Trump tweeted a warning that China should not retaliate – will only get worse!”

The ministry said it plans to set impose tariffs ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent on 5,140 US products on a target list.

According to the statement, tariffs on 2493 items will be raised to 25 per cent from current 10 per cent, tariffs on 1078 items will be raised to 20 per cent from current 10 per cent, tariffs on 974 items will be hiked to 10 per cent from current 5 per cent and 5 per cent tariffs will  be kept unchanged on 595 items.

The tariff move is in response to the US unilateralism and trade protectionism, said the ministry in a separate statement on Monday.

“China hopes that the US will get back to the right track of bilateral trade talks, work together with China and meet each other halfway to reach a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement on the basis of mutual respect,” it said.

The duties in large part target US agriculture industry and the products subject to higher tariffs include fruit, vegetables, peanuts, sugar, wheat, chicken and turkey, etc.

Goods ranging rom small aircraft, computers and textiles to chemicals, wine and LNG will be subject to higher tariffs, while auto parts remain exempt from the retaliatory duties and finished vehicles were also left off the list.

Soybean futures fell to the lowest level in a decade as an escalating trade war dampens hopes that China will resume purchasing the commodity from the US to ease supply gluts.

Farm commodities from pork to cotton slumped on Monday, with soybeans dipping below $8 a bushel for the first time since 2008 in Chicago.

Wall Street’s main indexes fell more than 2 per cent after Beijing announced the move to retaliate with higher tariffs, on fears that another round of tit-for-tat measures could push the US economy toward recession.

Shares of technology companies were at the centre of the sell-off, including chipmakers, manufacturing giants and retailers that are exposed to China.

The Trump administration is expected to announce details of the plans to impose a 25 per cent additional tariff on all remaining imports from China.

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