Trump unleashes trade war with tariffs on China

U.S. tariffs take effect, China warns of 'counterattack'

A China central bank adviser said the planned US import tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods - $34 billion plus a planned follow-on list worth $16 billion - will cut China's economic growth by 0.2 percentage points, although the overall impact would be limited, the official Xinhua news agency reported Friday. The price of USA soybeans has plunged 17 percent over the past month on fears that Chinese tariffs will cut off American farmers from a market that buys about 60 percent of their soybean exports.

U.S. President Donald Trump fired the biggest shot yet in the global trade war by imposing tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports.

"China is forced to strike back to safeguard core national interests and the interests of its people", the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

In particular, the United States "will impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China containing industrially significant technology, including those related to the "Made in China 2025" program", the statement said.

While US companies doing business in China agree with Trump's complaint about Chinese intellectual property practices, many economists said they do not see tariffs pushing China into submission.

And those caught in the initial line of fire - USA farmers facing tariffs on their exports to China, for instance - are already hunkered down. "The countdown is on as to what Trump will do next".

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Maarten-Jan Bakkum, a strategist at NN Investment Partners, a Netherlands-based asset manager, said in emailed comments that "protectionist measures by one country could potentially spiral out of control, leading to more retaliation by more countries, eventually affecting a bigger share of Chinese (emerging market) and global exports".

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.

Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president of the US Dairy Export Council, said the retaliatory tariffs have been a "one-two punch" that have left the industry "reeling".

China has accused the United States of "opening fire" on the world with tariffs that took effect Friday, warning that it would respond the moment that duties on $34 billion in its products kick in.

"If what the U.S. wants is to escalate a trade war with China, then so be it".

"No question this is on the minds of MA employers", said Chris Geehern of Associated Industries of MA.

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"We can probably say that the trade war has officially started", Chen Feixiang, professor of applied economics at Shanghai Jiaotong University's Antai College of Economics and Management, told Reuters.

Beijing said it had no choice but to respond in kind by taxing a similar amount of U.S. goods coming into China. "We urge the Trump administration and China to rescind these tariffs that leave our farmers footing the bill".

Beijing earlier released a list of American goods targeted for possible tariff hikes including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey.

"More multinational companies, SMEs and ordinary consumers will be impaired and many industries in the USA have realised that it is them that will bear the consequences".

"Tariffs not only hurt our farmers, ranchers and aeroplane manufacturers but they also harm every American consumer".

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

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