China said on Wednesday it will retaliate if the United States takes further steps hindering trade, after a source said the Trump administration proposes slapping 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods.
The White House on Wednesday proposed a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, more than double the 10 percent tax rate originally planned.
"Regrettably, instead of changing its harmful behavior, China has illegally retaliated against U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses", Lighthizer said in a statement. "Importers may have ordered aggressively in June ahead of tariffs imposed this month by the USA and China", the port stated in a press release.
A foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, warned Tuesday that Beijing will "definitely fight back" to defend its "lawful rights and interests".
But what exactly prompted Trump to push for the sharp reset in Chinese tariffs?
China has appealed to Washington to stay level-headed and "correct its attitude" following a US threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods in a dispute over technology policy.
The U.S. imported $505 billion worth of Chinese goods in 2017 while China imported $130 billion worth of American products, according to the Commerce Department.
Trump administration officials say the U.S.'s robust economy gives it the high ground in the trade battle against China, which is showing signs of an economic slowdown. Beijing responded to news reports on Tuesday about the planned tariff increase by cautioning the US against "blackmailing and pressuring" and it vowed to strike back at every escalation.
The threatened tariffs of 10 percent could rise to 25 percent on thousands of products, including food, chemicals, steel and aluminum, furniture, tires, bicycles and beauty products.
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Trump's trade fights, including the battle with China, are starting to seep into the U.S. economy based on recent data. China upped the ante on Thursday in response to the Trump administration's latest move.
"First, I suggest the US take the right attitude and not to try to blackmail China as it doesn't work", spokesman Geng Shuang said in response to a question.
The Trump administration aims to push for changes in China's policies on intellectual property protection, technology transfers and subsidies for high technology industries.
Officials said they remained in regular contact with their Chinese counterparts but could announce no new meeting.
In retaliation, Beijing said it would also levy duties on an equal dollar amount worth of United States goods as well as increase regulation for American companies that are doing business in the country. The public has until September 5 to comment on the proposal.
The 25% tariffs would apply to the same products proposed in July.
It's not as if the president doesn't have advisors capable of explaining the dangers of too much foreign investment-economist and Trump Trade guru Peter Navarro wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal previous year warning that at our current rate "foreigners will eventually own so much of the US that Americans will wind up working longer hours just to eat and to service the debt".
Beijing's earlier round of tariffs appeared created to minimize the impact on the Chinese economy by targeting soybeans, whiskey and other goods available from Brazil, Australia and other suppliers.
"This won't work on China", Geng said.