China to slap retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion-worth of US goods, targeting soybeans, oil & cars

Beijing has finally unveiled its response to Washington’s latest tariffs, vowing to hike levies on $75 billion-worth of US exports and to resume 25 percent tariffs on American automobiles.

Beijing’s response measures will be implemented at the same stage as Washington’s, which plans to levy tariffs on $300 billion-worth of Chinese products on September 1 and again on December 15.

The US had initially threatened that additional levies targeting Chinese imports would come into force in September, but later postponed part of the tariffs until the end of the year.

China’s Ministry of Commerce stated on Friday that the move is in retaliation to the US’ “unilateral” policies and “protectionism.”

Earlier, Beijing had urged Washington not to go through with its threat of tariffs, to avoid a further escalation of the trade war between the two world’s largest economies. China also warned that it would take retaliatory measures should the US tariffs come into force, but did not previously elaborate what steps it was going to take.

The additional levies will range from 5 to 10 percent for various US products. For example, an extra 5 percent tariff will be applied to sensitive American imports such as soybeans, and crude oil imports starting next month.

Beijing had temporarily abolished the additional tariffs on US-produced cars and auto parts, in a good will gesture amid the short trade war truce reached by the two sides in December. The tariffs were not resumed even after the initial deadline expired in April. After President Trump resumed the tariff war, the Chinese government decided to re-impose the 25 percent duty, starting mid-December.

US stocks reacted immediately to the news of China’s tariff retaliation in pre-market trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down more than 150 points, or nearly 0.6 percent, dragging down other major indices. The S&P 500 futures slipped more than 16 points or 0.57 percent and the Nasdaq Composite futures fell 59 points or 0.77 percent.