US, China trade war escalates

The United States on Friday escalated a tariff war with China by hiking levies to 25 per cent for $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in the midst of last-ditch talks to secure a trade deal.

Reuters reports that U.S. President, Donald Trump, who has adopted protectionist policies as part of his “America First” agenda, issued orders for the tariff increase, saying China had “broken the deal” by reneging on commitments made during months of negotiations.

Trump also said he would start the “paperwork” for 25 per cent duties on another $325 billion in Chinese imports.

In Beijing, China’s commerce ministry said it “deeply regrets” the US decision, adding that it would take necessary countermeasures, without elaborating.

Chinese Vice-Premier, Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talked for 90 minutes on Thursday.

They were expected to resume efforts on Friday to rescue a deal that could end a 10-month trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

The commerce ministry said negotiations were continuing and that it “hopes the U.S. can meet China halfway, make joint efforts and resolve the issue through cooperation and consultation”.

With negotiations in progress and no action from the Trump administration to reverse the increase, US Customs and Border Protection imposed the new 25 per cent duty on over 5,700 categories of products leaving China after 12:01am (0401 GMT) on Friday.

The Office of the US Trade Representative separately said seaborne cargoes shipped from China before midnight was not subject to the new tax as long as they arrive in the US prior to June 1.