China slams US 'intimidation' as new tariffs kick in

Chinese President Xi Jinping left and President Trump attend a welcome ceremony in Beijing on Nov. 9 2017

Last week, China announced retaliatory tariffs on United States products worth $60 billion after the USA did not withdraw its duties on Chinese imports worth $200 billion effective from Monday. China's customs agency said it responded at noon by beginning to collect taxes of 5 or 10 per cent on a $60 billion list of 5,207 American goods, from honey to industrial chemicals.

But Trump warned he could ramp up to "phase three", slapping tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports, or the entirety of the goods the U.S. buys from China.

China also scheduled a bump in tariff rates for its targeted $60 billion of U.S. goods for the end of the year, but it is running out of options to even the score on Trump's threatened third wave of tariffs.

The new tariffs will likely push up prices for USA businesses and consumers, according to economists, while also weighing on consumer confidence.

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After accusing the USA of launching the "largest trade war in economic history", analysts worry Beijing could shift to threatened "qualitative" retaliatory measures, such as damaging United States firms in China or restricting the export of crucial items.

Additionally, the latest Assocham-World Gold Council report states that the higher minimum support price offered to farmers (which will increase their purchasing power) could push the gold prices in India by 25 percent in the second half of the financial year 2018-19.

Soon after the new duties went into effect, China accused the United States of engaging in "trade bullyism" and said it was intimidating other countries to submit to its will, the official Xinhua news agency said, reiterating China's willingness to fight if necessary.

Beijing fired back Monday, accusing the USA of making "false accusations" and using "increasing tariffs and other means of economic intimidation in an attempt to force its own interests on China by way of extreme pressure". No date has been set for a new round of talks on the trade conflict.

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"The door for trade talks is always open but negotiations must be held in an environment of mutual respect", but "cannot be carried out under the threat of tariffs", a state-run Xinhua news agency quoted a statement from its government.

"Protectionist US trade policies have now reached the point where they are materially affecting what remains a strong global growth outlook", a Fitch report revealed on Friday.

The trade tensions have also cast a pall over broader relations between Beijing and Washington, with the two sides butting heads on a growing number of issues.

Pompeo said that President Donald Trump "very much likes" his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping but said he would press policies that "the American workers deserve".

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Trump earlier this month accused China of targeting rural voters who support his presidency by hitting agricultural goods. Some analysts say there is also a risk that China could allow its currency to weaken again to cushion the blow to its exporters.

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