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Tensions Grow in US-China Trade Dispute

Tensions Grow in US-China Trade Dispute

New tariffs spark fears of tit-for-tat trade war.

As a trade war between the US and China grows more likely, Beijing has responded to a recent spate of US tariffs by imposing its own duties on 128 US imports, including pork and wine, after Donald Trump raised tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium imports in March.

The tariffs affecting some $3bn of imports came into effect April 2.

Beijing said the move was to safeguard China’s interests and balance losses caused by new US tariffs, stressing it did not want a trade war but would not sit by while its economy was hurt.

Mr Trump, however, has insisted that “trade wars are good”, and that the US will win “easily.”

The US government has already announced plans for further targeted tariffs for tens of billions of dollars of Chinese imports.

They say that it is in response to unfair trading practices in China that affect US firms, but it raises the possibility of yet more action being taken by both countries, according to the BBC.

Washington has long blamed the dispute on China’s alleged theft of foreign intellectual property by which foreign companies that want to operate in the country must hand over their intellectual property for the privilege.

Opinion by trade analysts is mixed with some worried that launching a potential tariff war is not the way to address the issue while others say China has been getting away with too much and tough measures are needed in order to force change.

A large Chinese trade surplus with the US naturally means that Beijing is more exposed to the economic impact than Washington with the Chinese government likely to try to negotiate its way out of the dispute.

Among the Chinese tariffs, US scrap aluminium and frozen pork will be subject to a 25 percent additional tariff – on top of existing duties.

Several other American foods, including nuts, fresh and dried fruit, ginseng, and wine will be hit by a 15 percent increase.

While the US has announced potentially further tariffs down the line, it remains to be seen if China will follow up with stronger measures.