China’s foreign ministry has said it will hit back Donald Trump’s plan to plaster tariffs on $50bn (£37bn) worth of its imports.
Spokesman Geng Shuang said China’s response would be immediate and that Beijing would “take necessary measures to defend our legitimate rights and interests”.
Trump has long threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese as part of his protectionist policies and to halt the ascendancy of what he considers to be America’s greatest economic rival.
The US has said the punitive measures have been designed to combat what it says is theft of its intellectual property. It says it wants to stop the transfer of US products and designs over to Chinese companies.
US officials met at the White House on Thursday to trim the original list of 1,300 categories to about 800. The new list is expected to target China’s “Made in China 2025” plan which includes products in the robotics sector.
In response, Beijing has also drawn up a list of $50bn in US products that would face retaliatory tariffs, including beef and soybeans.
It is not only China that will face the measures. Trump shocked the world and fellow members of the G7 when he decided to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel on the US’s closest neighbour, Canada, following a public spat with its prime minister Justin Trudeau, who also vowed to respond.
The tariffs on aluminium and steel also apply to Mexico and the UK, which Theresa May has called “unjustified” and “deeply disappointing”.
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