China threatens U.S. with $60B in tariffs on coffee, honey

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Beijing has announced plans to slap import taxes targeting 5,207 American products worth $60 billion in retaliation to trade tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by the US.

The Chinese finance ministry said 5,207 goods imported from the United States could be subjected to the fresh tariffs, with levies ranging from 5% to 25% on products including aircraft, soya bean oil, smoked beef, coffee and flour. The next round of tariffs on mutual imports worth $16 billion could come into force on Friday.

Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a signing ceremony during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China's Ministry of Transport in Beijing, China April 27, 2018.

China's imports from the United States a year ago totaled $153.9 billion.

The Ministry said it would impose tariffs ranging from five to 25 per cent on United States dollars 60 million worth of American products.

"The implementation date of the taxation measures will be subject to the actions of the USA, and China reserves the right to continue to introduce other countermeasures", China's Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media that "the Chinese side calls on the U.S. to return to rationality, and eradicate its mistakes to create the right conditions for resolving the problem".

President Donald Trump and his administration have repeatedly called on China to stop unfair trading practices, stop technology and intellectual property theft, and for a decrease in the USA trade deficit with the China.

China received 103.4 million cubic feet of LNG from the USA last year, the Energy Information Administration says.

"They better not underestimate the President", Mr Kudlow said in an interview on Fox Business Network.
"He is going to stand tough".

Trump has accused China of pursuing unfair trading practices and stealing American firms' intellectual property, while using import tariffs to push Beijing towards renegotiating its trade policy with the US. China's trading partners complain those might violate its market-opening pledges by subsidizing or shielding Chinese companies from competition. The move was meant to bring China back to the negotiating table for talks over United States demands for structural changes to the Chinese economy and a cut in the bilateral trade deficit.

By comparison, companies in America sold £100bn ($130bn) of goods to China during the same period.

The two countries have been embroiled for months in a trade conflict that has threatened to hurt consumers in both countries.

Still, two senior diplomats met earlier on Friday on the sidelines of a regional summit in Singapore.

Answering a reporter's question about what was specifically said on trade, Wang said: "We did not speak in such details".

Among US products targeted were a wide range of agricultural and energy products such as beef and LNG. LNG's inclusion marks a deployment by Beijing of one of its last major weapons from its energy and commodities arsenal in its fight with Washington. After the earlier action against $34 billion of US goods, that left about $120 billion available for retaliation. The amount could be even larger if the United States resolves a logistics bottleneck. The refusal by Beijing's anti-trust regulators to approve the deal effectively made Qualcomm the first casualty of the trade dispute, even though China said it had nothing to do with the issue.

"The U.S. gas industry will be much harder hit by this as China imports only a small volume whereas U.S. suppliers see China as a major future market". Helicopters with an empty weight of less than 2 tonnes were also on that list.

China became the world's second-biggest LNG importer in 2017, as it buys more gas in order to wean the country off dirty coal to reduce pollution.

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