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China mulls higher tariffs on imported US products

IANS | Beijing |

China announced on Friday that it was considering higher tariffs for imported US products worth about $3 billion to balance losses caused by the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Beijing.

The measures, or the suspension of tariff concessions, will target 128 items including pork, wines and seamless steel tubes, the Ministry of Commerce said.

According to the ministry, the measures will include a 15-per cent tariff on products including fruits, nuts, wines and seamless steel tubes, and a 25-per cent tariff on pork and recycled aluminium products, reports Xinhua news agency.

The measures will be implemented in two stages: in the first stage, the 15-per cent tariff will be imposed if the two countries could not reach an agreement on trade issues within scheduled time; in the second stage, the 25-per cent import tax will be imposed after evaluating the impact caused by the US policies, the ministry said.

China’s move comes after US President Donald Trump on Thursday directed the trade representative to level tariffs on nearly $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

Trump’s announcement comes a seven-month investigation into the intellectual property theft, which has been a longstanding point of contention in US-China trade relations, CNN reported.

In addition to the tariffs, the US also plans to impose new investment restrictions, take action against China at the World Trade Organization and the Treasury Department also will propose additional measures.

Before signing the measure, Trump lamented the US’ multi-hundred billion dollar trade deficit with China and said the action would be “the first of many”.

Trump, on March 8, signed proclamations to impose a 25 per cent tariff on imported steel and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium, causing mounting dissent among business groups and trading partners around the world.