Trade war escalates as China slaps tariffs on 128 American goods including meat and wine

China on Monday retaliated against Donald Trump’s taxes on imported steel and aluminium with its own tariffs on a series of products from the United States, including meat, fruit and wine.

The measures, which came with a warning from state media that Beijing is prepared to “show its strength” towards the US, could seriously harm the livelihoods of American farmers, a group which is seen as being part of  Mr Trump’s core support.

Beijing announced extra tariffs of up to 25 percent on 128 US products, measures which match a list of potential tariffs on up to $3 billion worth of US goods which was published in China last month.

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said in a statement that it was suspending its obligations to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and that the new tariffs would start on Monday.

China’s Customs Tariff Commission is increasing the tariff rate on pork products and aluminium scrap by 25 percent, authorities announced.

They had also “seriously infringed on China’s rights and interests".

Mr Trump has also announced separate plans to slap tariffs on nearly $50 billion in Chinese imports.

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China’s new tariffs follow weeks of heated rhetoric and threats between the world’s two biggest economies.

Chinese media has previously called on Beijing to step up retaliation against the US. The Global Times newspaper said on Monday that China did not want a trade war, “but it will not retreat should one emerge”.

“Today’s announcement is hardly a subtle intimation," it added. "Instead, China will show its strength through action as they are on the defensive due to their current level of confidence required to take on all challenges.

"Carrying out illogical tricks with provocation as the end goal will experience the same degree of firm countermeasures.”

The Chinese response could end up hurting American ranchers and farmers, many of whom are from regions that voted for Mr Trump in 2016.  American farmers shipped nearly $20 billion of goods to China in 2017.

The American pork industry sent $1.1 billion in products, making China the number 3 market for US pork.

Additional reporting by Christine Wei


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