There seems to be no end in sight for the trade war between the US and China as the two sides have once again started imposing additional tariffs on each other’s products.
The latest escalation in the bruising trade war between the world’s two largest economies took place on Sunday, when the US imposed 15 percent duties on 112 billion dollars worth of mainly consumer goods from China, and Beijing responded by levying five percent tariffs on US oil and 10 percent duties on a range of other American products.
This marks the first time that China has targeted the US fuel since Washington and Beijing started their trade war more than a year ago.
Both sides also announced plans for further duties coming into effect later this year.
The official People’s Daily of the ruling Communist Party in China underlined that the tariffs could not impede the country’s development.
“China’s booming economy has made China a fertile ground for investment that foreign companies cannot ignore,” it said.
US President Donald Trump said last month that he was increasing existing and planned tariffs by 5 percent on about 550 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports after Beijing announced its own retaliatory tariffs on American commodities.
On Thursday, Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Beijing had lodged a “solemn representation” over Trump’s decision but also warned that Beijing had “sufficient means” to retaliate against any further increases despite plans for resumption of negotiations on a bilateral trade deal.
“The most important thing now is to create the necessary conditions for continuing the negotiations,” he said. “What should be discussed now is that the US must call off its plan to impose [additional] tariffs on US$550 billion worth of Chinese products to avoid a further escalation in the trade dispute.”
Despite the escalation of the trade dispute, Trump told reporters on Saturday that “as of now” the face-to-face talks scheduled to take place in Washington later this month were still on.
China had lifted punitive tariffs on American cars and auto parts earlier this year as a goodwill measure while trade talks were underway.
Trump initiated the trade war with China last year, when he first imposed unusually heavy tariffs on imports from the country. Since then, the two sides have exchanged tariffs on more than 360 billion dollars in two-way trade.
The two sides have held talks to settle the issues but to no avail so far.
Washington says a primary goal of the aggressive tariff strategy is to decrease the trade imbalance with China, which totaled 379 billion dollars in 2018.