China threatens tariffs on $60 billion of US imports

China threatens tariffs on $60 billion of US imports
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China announced on Friday that it would impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports in response to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE's plans to raise tariff levels on Chinese goods, a move expected to further escalate trade tensions.

The Chinese Ministry of Finance said it would impose tariffs upward of 25 percent on 5,207 American goods if the Trump administration follows through with its threats to hit Beijing with 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, according to a statement on its website on Friday.

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"The United States has deviated from the consensus of the two sides on several occasions, unilaterally escalating trade frictions, seriously violating the rules of the World Trade Organization, undermining the global industrial chain and the free trade system, substantially harming the interests of our country and the people, and will also include the United States," the statement said.

China will hit thousands of agricultural products at the 25 percent level including U.S. honey, grated ginger, almonds and maple syrup and liquified natural gas (LNG).

A wide variety of chemicals will be hit at 5 percent tariff, a 10 percent duty will be imposed on chicken breast, rice noodles and beeswax and a 20 percent tax will apply to products like frozen strawberries and chewing gum.

The world's two largest economies are in a tit-for-tat tariff battle, which is fueling a trade war.

This week, President Trump ordered U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerPelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House On The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report MORE to consider imposing a 25 percent tax on $200 billion worth of imported Chinese goods, up from the initially proposed 10 percent rate.

"If the U.S. is willing to go its own way and implement its tariff increase measures, China will implement the above-mentioned tariff increase measures," China said in the statement.

China said it would "defend its legitimate rights and interests, and ... counter the escalation of trade friction through counter-measures" and would move forward with tariffs from 5 percent to 25 percent on $60 billion of U.S. imports if the U.S. follows through with its threats.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that "instead of retaliating, China should address the longstanding concerns about its unfair trading practices, many of which are laid out in USTRs [United States trade representative's] 301 report."

Trump administration officials said the higher tariffs may be warranted because China is refusing to change its unfair trade practices.

The White House said it will pressure Beijing to move toward a more market-based economy, reduce barriers and lower the trade deficit or face more economic sanctions.

The two countries had been talking in recent months but negotiations have stalled with Washington and Beijing trading retaliatory tariffs.

Last month, Trump hit China with tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods and China immediately retaliated. There is another batch of tariffs of $16 billion in the pipeline that could hit soon. China is expected to respond with an equal amount of tariffs.

—Updated at 10:35 a.m.