China threatens new tariffs on $60 bn worth of US goods

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Beijing warned Friday it was prepared to impose new tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods if Washington ups the ante in the escalating US-China trade war.

The commerce ministry issued a statement saying the new duties would be applied if Washington pulled the trigger on President Donald Trump’s threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The statement said China reserves the right to apply “other countermeasures”.

“China always believes that consultation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit is an effective way to resolve trade differences,” the ministry said.

“Any unilateral threat or blackmail will only lead to intensification of conflicts and damage to the interests of all parties.”

The threat came a day after Chinese officials appealed for dialogue based on “mutual respect”, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi urging the United States to remain “cool-headed”.

US officials said Wednesday that Trump had asked the US Trade Representative to consider increasing the proposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from the planned 10 percent.

Washington and Beijing are locked in battle over American accusations that China’s export economy benefits from unfair policies and subsidies, as well as theft of American technological know-how.

Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on virtually all of China’s exports to the United States in the tit-for-tat trade conflict.