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10 May, 2019 04:24

China vows to take 'necessary countermeasures' after US tariff hike, stalling talks

China vows to take 'necessary countermeasures' after US tariff hike, stalling talks

China plans to take “necessary countermeasures” in response to the US’ decision to increase tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods, a decision China’s Commerce Ministry said it “deeply regrets.”

The ministry did not elaborate on what those countermeasures might be, but added in a statement that it hoped the US could come to a mutually satisfactory agreement with China through “cooperation and consultation.”

Beijing's statement was made as the increase in tariffs took effect at the turn of midnight on Friday Eastern Time, between two days of desperate talks aimed at rescuing a trade deal that has been in the making for months now.

US President Donald Trump announced the hike on Sunday, accusing China of backtracking on commitments it had made while fleshing out the deal; he later said, "they broke the deal." Chinese officials rushed to the US to continue the negotiations, a move they said proved that they were “serious” about reaching an agreement. None has been forthcoming so far, with the talks in Washington moving into the second day without visible progress.

The tariffs impact a wide range of imported consumer products, including electronics, luggage, furniture, construction materials, seafood, and lighting. They do not affect products currently in transit, meaning the two countries have a small window of opportunity to reach an agreement while the next shipment of goods from China is en route.

China already levies tariffs on 91 percent of American imports, affecting over $110 billion in goods, including agricultural products. The two countries have been ratcheting up tariffs in an ongoing trade war stretching back over a year, a conflict that has spilled over into seemingly unrelated matters like the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on charges of violating US sanctions against Iran and ongoing allegations from US intelligence that Huawei and other Chinese telecoms are being used to spy on unsuspecting customers on behalf of the government.

The US has banned federal agencies from using Huawei technology and has done everything in its power to convince allies to bar Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese firms from bidding on 5G contracts, to the point of threatening the UK with ejection from the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network if they awarded a contract to Huawei.

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