China targets soybeans, electric cars, whiskey in retaliatory tariffs

China targets soybeans, electric cars, whiskey in retaliatory tariffs
© Getty Images

Chinese officials announced retaliatory tariffs aimed at the United States on Saturday that target American exports such as electric cars, soybeans and whiskey.

China's commerce ministry made the announcement in a statement, calling the Trump administration a "provocateur" on trade issues and warning that the country would "fight back strongly," The Associated Press reports.

The tariffs, which will go into effect July 6, include 25 percent duties on soybeans, electric cars, orange juice, whiskey, lobsters, salmon and cigars, the finance ministry told the AP in a statement.

According to the report, the selected products were chosen to minimize their impact to the Chinese economy — namely items that can be imported from elsewhere — while also targeting U.S. exports from rural areas that voted more strongly for President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE.

ADVERTISEMENT

“In this trade war, it’s the U.S. who is playing the role of provocateur, while China plays defense,” Chinese state-linked newspaper Global Times reported. “China is a powerful guardian and has enough ammunition to defend existing trade rules and fairness.”

Saturday's move by China follows a Friday announcement from the president of more U.S. tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports of products focusing on China's industrial sector, making good on a threat the White House has been making for months.

"My great friendship with President Xi [Jinping] of China and our country’s relationship with China are both very important to me," Trump said in a statement Friday.

"Trade between our nations, however, has been very unfair, for a very long time. This situation is no longer sustainable," he added. 

Chinese officials initially ripped Friday's announcement, calling it "damaging" to the two countries' bilateral interests.

"This move is not only damaging bilateral interests but also undermining the world trade order,” the statement said, adding that China would "immediately introduce taxation measures of the same scale and strength."