U.S. increases tariffs on China to 25% in major trade war escalation

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U.S. increases tariffs on China to 25% in major trade war escalation

The U.S. has increased tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, in what analysts say is a severe escalation of the trade war. 

The two sides had appeared to be converging on a deal until last weekend, when U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to raise tariffs, claiming that China was backtracking on earlier commitments.

In response, Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng was quoted as saying: “China sets great store on trustworthiness and keeps its promises, and this has never changed.”

Reuters reports that in each of the seven chapters of the trade agreement draft, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war.

With the decision to send the delegation to Washington, however, Gao was quoted as saying: “We hope the U.S. can meet China halfway, take care of each others’ concerns, and resolve existing problems through cooperation and consultations.”

The tariffs targets chemicals, building materials, furniture and some consumer electronics among other goods, though Trump has also threatened to levy tariffs on an additional US$325 billion of China’s goods, on top of the US$250 billion of its products already hit by import taxes.

Last year, China increased tariffs on a large range of imports of U.S. fruit from 10% to 50%, in retaliation for the U.S. implementing duties on imports of Chinese steel and aluminum.

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