China blames U.S. for ‘largest-scale trade war’ as tariffs kick in

China flag and the U.S. Stars and Stripes fly on a lamp post Pennsylvania in Washington

While the Trump administration has tailored its tariffs to target certain Chinese goods that will not directly affect many American consumers, products including machinery and engine parts, China's tariffs squarely target industries vital to Trump's base, according to the Associated Press.

China's Ministry of Commerce on Friday accused the US of "launching the biggest trade war in economic history" in a statement (link in Chinese).

There was no evidence of any last-minute negotiations between USA and Chinese officials, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

In the run-up to Friday's tariff implementation, there was no sign of renewed negotiations between USA and Chinese officials, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

Yesterday German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the spectre of the global financial crisis as she warned of potential fallout from a trade war with the United States, saying tariffs on European cars would be "much more serious" than levies on steel and aluminum.

And Beijing's tactics may go beyond tariffs to include arbitrary quarantines and a costly uptick in customs inspections.

The US will levy a 25 percent tariff on more than 800 Chinese product categories worth around $34 billion and has warned of more to come if China retaliates. The president said US tariffs on an additional $16 billion in Chinese goods are set to take effect in two weeks. The president said USA tariffs on an additional $16 billion in Chinese goods are set to take effect in two weeks. Trump said. "So we have 50 plus 200 plus nearly 300".

In addition to Friday's tariffs and in response to China's retaliation in June, Mr Trump has ordered tariffs on $200bn worth of imports and threatened tariffs on another $200bn.

US companies had US$256 billion in investment in China by the end of previous year, exceeding China's US$140 billion in the United States, according to a report by the National Committee of US-China Relations and Rhodium Group in April.

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The American tariffs are the result of Mr Trump's attempt to protect United States jobs and stop "unfair transfers of American technology and intellectual property to China". Others think he really wants to address the U.S. trade deficit issue with China.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said that the proposed US tariffs would hit many American and foreign companies operating in China and disrupt their supplies of components and assembly work.

The US trade deficit in goods with China now stands at about $375bn. It also is rooted in the clash between American notions of free trade and Beijing's state-led development model. But after three rounds of negotiations between the two sides, including a Chinese pledge to significantly increase purchases of American products, Trump made a decision to go ahead with the tariffs. "It is not only because of China's large market size, but it is also because the Chinese market is stable, rational, and committed to the rule of law".

Wall Street gained on the back of a stronger-than-forecast employment report which helped USA stocks recover from an early bout of weakness as midday approached in NY. -China tit-for-tat, as tariffs on soybeans, electric cars, whiskey, livestock and crude oil have been threatened.

For the time being, analysts say it's hard to see Washington or Beijing backing down in the dispute.

"This act is typical trade bullying", the spokesperson said, before adding: "It seriously jeopardizes the global industrial chain ..."

Under the banner of his "America First" policy, Trump has also targeted other traditional trade partners of the U.S., such as the European Union, Japan, Mexico and even Canada.

The two giant economies appear ready to see which side can endure the most pain. "If this ends at $34 billion, it will have a marginal effect on both economies, but if it escalates to $500 billion like Trump said then it's going to have a big impact for both countries".

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