China Wednesday announced plans to hit the United States with new tariffs of 25 percent on soybeans, aircraft, cars and other imports worth $50 billion, hours after Washington unveiled its own target list.
China’s commerce ministry listed 106 products to be targeted and said a date for the implementation of the tariffs would be announced separately.
The new tariffs mark a significant escalation of the brewing trade war between the world’s two largest economies — with the $100 billion worth of goods cumulatively targeted representing about 17 percent of the $580 billion in two-way trade last year.
A third of US soybean exports go to China, totalling $14 billion last year, and the product comes from rural states that voted for President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
As the Trump administration has ramped up trade actions against China, policymakers in Beijing have emphasised they do not want a trade war but will not back down in the face of US pressure.
“Any attempt to bring China to its knees through threats and intimidation will never succeed. It will not succeed this time either,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular news briefing on Wednesday.
“There is no winner in a trade war, and an initiator will harm itself as well as others,” Geng said, noting China had referred the latest US action to the World Trade Organization.
In recent weeks, both sides have said they are continuing to negotiate — something which could avert the eventual implementation of the tariffs.