A new round of US tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports kicked in on Thursday, prompting Beijing to retaliate with its own levies on American goods worth the same amount.
The latest trade escalation comes as officials from the world’s two largest economies meet for tariff negotiations in Washington.
At 12.01 a.m. on Thursday, the US began collecting additional 25 per cent duties on 279 Chinese import product categories identified by the American Trade Representative.
Key products that will be hit by the duties include semiconductors, chemicals, plastics, motorbikes and electric scooters.
Beijing retaliated with its own fresh tariffs on $16 billion worth of additional imports from the US including fuel, steel products, autos and medical equipment.
The levies took effect the same time that the US tariffs were imposed on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported, citing an announcement from the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council.
China "resolutely opposes" the latest tariffs by the US and will fight back against the latest duties, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement, adding that Beijing will file a complaint to the World Trade Organization against the U.S.
The latest American tariffs – which come on the back of $34 billion worth of Chinese goods that were implemented in July – have spurred US importers to place additional orders to be shipped and delivered ahead.
President Donald Trump has threatened to impose duties on over $500 billion of Chinese goods exported annually to the US unless China agrees to sweeping changes in its intellectual property practices, industrial subsidy programmes and tariff structure.
Beijing has denied Washington’s allegations that it systematically forces the unfair transfer of US technology and insists it adheres to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.>