U.S. targets $300 billion of Chinese goods for new tariff hikes

It’s a reaction to Trump’s surprise move to impose punitive duties on $200 billion of Chinese imports

A shopper eyes display of seafood including oysters from the U.S. at a supermarket in Beijing on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

U.S. officials listed $300 billion more of Chinese goods for possible tariff hikes while Beijing vowed Tuesday to “fight to the finish” in an escalating trade battle that is fueling fears about damage to global economic growth.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office issued its target list after Beijing announced tariff hikes Monday on $60 billion of American goods in their spiraling dispute over Chinese technology ambitions and other irritants. Chinese authorities were reacting to President Donald Trump’s surprise decision last week to impose punitive duties on $200 billion of imports from China.

READ MORE: U.S. hikes tariffs on Chinese goods, Beijing vows retaliation

“China will fight to the finish,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.

“We have the determination and capacity to safeguard our interests,” Geng said. “China’s countermeasures have shown our determination to safeguard the multilateral trade system.”

Trump downplayed the standoff that sent global markets plummeting to start the week, calling it “a little squabble” between friends.

The latest U.S. list of 3,805 product categories is a step toward carrying out Trump’s May 5 threat to extend punitive 25% duties to all Chinese imports, the USTR said. It said a June 17 hearing would be held before Washington decides how to proceed.

The list “covers essentially all products” not already affected by punitive tariffs, the USTR said.

It includes laptop computers, saw blades, turbine parts, tuna and garlic. The USTR noted it excludes pharmaceuticals and rare earths minerals used in electronics and batteries.

“The risk of further escalation is far from over,” said Timme Spakman of ING in a report.

Also Tuesday, China’s tightly controlled social media were filled with comments lambasting Washington following weeks of little online discussion of the dispute. That suggested official censors might have blocked earlier comments but started allowing those that favour Beijing to deflect potential criticism of President Xi Jinping’s government.

The United States is “sucking the blood of the Chinese,” said a comment left on the “Strong Country” blog of the ruling Communist Party’s newspaper People’s Daily. Another comment on the site said, “Why are Chinese people bullied? Because our hearts are too soft!”

Trump started raising tariffs last July over complaints China steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology and unfairly subsidizes businesses Beijing is trying to build into global leaders in robotics and other fields.

A stumbling block has been U.S. insistence on an enforcement mechanism with penalties to ensure Beijing carries out its commitments.

Odds of a settlement “remain high,” said Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics in a report. “But suddenly a number of other scenarios seem possible, even one in which the U.S., China and the global economy suffer a recession.”

Asian stock markets fell Tuesday as the fight, with no negotiated settlement in sight, though markets in the U.S. and Europe recovered some, but not all of the losses Monday, when the Dow plunged more than 600 points.

That came after China’s Finance Ministry announced duties of 5% to 25% on about 5,200 American products, including batteries, spinach and coffee.

Joe McDonald, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

How to judge sand sculptures like a pro at the 2019 Parksville Beach Festival

World-class arbiter gives insight on how to choose a winner

Editorial: Whatever happened to the summer of love?

Baby boomers must look back at the promise of summers past and wonder

Victoria: where the streets have four names

Find out why so many capital region streets change names as the roadways twist and turn

A look back at hand logging on Cortes Island

David Ellingsen explores his family’s logging roots with the help of his camera

Vancouver Island writer goes with the flow in River Tales

Crofton author documents life on the banks of the Cowichan River

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Most Read