China threatens to slap import tax on $60 billion of USA imports


China unveiled on Friday a list of USA goods - $60 billion worth - that could be affected by raised tariffs in retaliation to earlier American threats of the same.

The ministry also warned that it reserves the right of further countermeasures in the intensifying trade war.

President Donald Trump and his administration have repeatedly called on China to stop unfair trading practices, stop technology and intellectual property theft, and for a decrease in the USA trade deficit with the China.

China recently threatened to slap retaliatory tariffs on an additional $60 billion in USA goods.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement it could add duties of 5, 10, 20 or 25 percent on 5,207 types of USA imports, while warning it could adopt further countermeasures at any time.

Duties ranging from 5% to 25% will be levied on 5 207 kinds of American imports if the United States delivers its proposed taxes on another $200 billion of Chinese goods, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website late Friday. The inquiry found that Chinese theft of US intellectual property was costing the USA economy billions of dollars.

"The in a better position to ride through the tariff concerns because of a strong economy", said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at SS Economics in Los Angeles.

The two countries have not had formal trade talks since early June. These goods range from liquefied natural gas (LNG) to aircraft and semiconductors.

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

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The State Council outlined the plan just days after the U.S. said it was considering higher tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods than initially planned.

Meanwhile, Beijing's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, met with his US counterpart, Mike Pompeo at the ASEAN Foreign Minister's Meeting in Singapore on Friday.

The Chinese commerce ministry blamed the United States for escalating the situation. The next round of tariffs on mutual imports worth $16 billion could come into force on Friday. This showed that China was trying to find ways to avoid escalating the trade war, and leave room for negotiation.

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

The threat comes as the USA has increased rhetoric about the dispute.

Tsinghua University economist Yuan Gangming said the measures China had taken were reasonable.

China listed 5,207 U.S. products that it would target in an effort to "safeguard its own legitimate interests".

China's biggest USA imports by value in 2017 were aircraft and related equipment, soybeans and autos.