China to penalise US$60 billion of US imports but reduce amount of tariffs it collects

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China will levy tariffs on about US$60 billion worth of US goods in retaliation for the latest round of US tariffs on Chinese products, as previously planned, but has reduced the level of tariffs that it will collect on the products.

The tit-for-tat measures are the latest escalation in an increasingly protracted trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

On Monday, the US administration said it will begin to levy new tariffs of 10 per cent on US$200 billion of Chinese products on Sept 24, with the tariffs to go up to 25 per cent by the end of 2018.

Previously, US President Donald Trump threatened to hit those goods with 25 per cent tariffs immediately.

“China is forced to respond to US unilateralism and trade protectionism, and has no choice but to respond with its own tariffs,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement on its website late on Tuesday.

China will levy tariffs on a total of 5,207 US products, at 5 and 10 per cent, instead of the previously proposed rates of 5, 10, 20 and 25 per cent, even as the products remain unchanged from the previous plan, the finance ministry said.

The label of a Washington DC sweatshirt bears a US flag but says “Made in China” at a souvenir stand in Washington, US January 14, 2011. Image: Reuters

China will impose a 10 per cent tariff on US products it previously designated for a rate of 20 and 25 per cent, and 5 per cent tariffs on goods previously under the 5 and 10 per cent rates.

Items previously designated to be hit by 20 or 25 per cent tariffs included products ranging from liquefied natural gas and mineral ores to coffee and various types of edible oil. Those goods will now be taxed 10 per cent.

Goods previously marked under the 10 per cent category included products such as frozen vegetables, cocoa powder and chemical products. Those products will now be taxed 5 per cent.

The new tariff measures will take effect at 12:01 pm (0401 GMT) on Sept 24.

China will further respond accordingly if the United States insists on increasing tariffs, according to the Finance Ministry.