China hits back in trade war with US

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China has said it will impose tariffs on $60bn (£46bn) of US goods from 1 June, extending a bilateral trade war.

The move comes three days after the US more than doubled tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump denied that US consumers would pay for higher tariffs on Chinese imports and warned China not to follow suit.

But Beijing said it would not swallow any “bitter fruit” that harmed its interests.

The Chinese tariffs will apply to more than 5,000 US products, ranging from 5% to 25%.

The move was announced in a statement by the Tariff Policy Commission of China’s cabinet, the State Council.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing in Beijing that China would “never surrender to external pressure”.

“China should not retaliate – will only get worse!” Mr Trump tweeted shortly before news of the Chinese decision came.

Mr Trump also said China had “taken so advantage of the US for so many years”.

He added that US consumers could avoid the tariffs by buying the same products from other sources.

“Many tariffed companies will be leaving China for Vietnam and other such countries in Asia. That’s why China wants to make a deal so badly!” he said.

Following the Chinese announcement, stocks on Wall Street fell in pre-market trading, pointing to big losses once trading begins as investors react to the latest round of tit-for-tat tariffs.

Shares in carmakers were particularly hard hit, with Ford and General Motors both set to open at least 2% lower.

Markets in Europe also extended losses, with the FTSE 100 down about 0.5%, while the main indexes in Frankfurt and Paris were more than 1% lower.

The US argues that China’s trade surplus with the US is the result of unfair practices, including state support for domestic companies. It also accuses China of stealing intellectual property from US firms.

The latest round of US-Chinese trade negotiations ended in Washington on Friday without a deal.

Mr Trump’s approach in the dispute has put him at odds with his own top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, who has said “both sides will suffer”.

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