U.S. President Donald Trump is firing the biggest shot yet in the global trade war by imposing tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, delivering on a promise to his political supporters that risks provoking retaliation and harming the world economy.
China's customs agency said Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods would take effect immediately after the United States duties on Chinese goods kicked in, although Beijing has said it will not be the first to pull the trigger.
China also promised that it would respond with trade restrictions of its own to counteract Trump's decision.
Speaking hours after the tit-for-tat duties went into effect, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said no one would emerge a victor from a trade war. US stocks are up slightly more than 2 percent this year as investors have weighed the threat of trade frictions against the strong performance of the USA economy.
Canadian tariffs in retaliation for USA tariffs on steel and aluminum went into effect on Sunday, hitting a wide range of U.S. consumer and steel products.
"Tariffs are beginning to take a toll on American businesses, workers, farmers, and consumers as overseas markets close to American-made products and prices increase here at home", U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said.
Chinese exporters of tools, lighting and appliances say USA orders have shrunk as customers wait to see what will happen to prices. Trump has declared trade wars as "easy to win" and bet the skirmish will prompt American companies to return operations to the US. The Communist Party newspaper People's Daily said tariffs were imposed on a list of goods issued last month that included soybeans, pork and electric vehicles.
China said it would respond with measures of a "corresponding number and quality" if the USA produced a list of products that could be hit.
"There are no winners in a trade war", said the chamber's chairman, William Zarit, in a statement.
He remarked, "There isn't clear evidence in the data that the anxiety over trade is being harmful to the industries that we would most watch for harm in".
The Chinese government also warned it would react immediately and strongly to new tariffs. Asian equities wobbled but also managed to end up.
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China's tariff actions in response took effect at 12:01 p.m.in Beijing, state news agency Xinhua reported, citing an unidentified official from the General Administration of Customs. He added that for now, "He's called the bluff of other countries that have basically been abusing. our workers for a long time".
That amount is higher than an earlier threat from Trump to target as much as $450 billion of Chinese exports. The products, all sold on Chinese e-commerce platforms, ranged from pet food to mixed nuts and whiskey.
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The United States "will implement specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese persons and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology", the White House said in a statement.
"So we have 50 plus 200 plus nearly 300", Trump said, adding "It's only on China".
Recent U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum antagonized fellow rich nations and drew return fire from the European Union and Canada.
China's commerce ministry called the USA actions "a violation of world trade rules" and said that it had "initiated the largest-scale trade war in economic history".
In the past, the USA used its economic clout to win trade skirmishes with developing countries, said James Boughton, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ontario.
Beijing vowed to take "necessary countermeasures" after the United States imposed 25 percent duties on about $34 billion in Chinese machinery, electronics and high-tech equipment, including autos, computer hard drives and LEDs.
"In a gaggle aboard Air Force One Thursday, Trump all but confirmed that he was following through with his threats, ticking through the additional tariffs he planned to levy after the initial salvo kicked in: ".