The new countermeasures by China imposing additional tariffs on about US$60 billion worth of products from the United States are “rational and restrained,” a spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has said.
The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council on August 3 unveiled lists of 5,207 U.S. products to be subject to additional tariffs of four different rates—25%, 20%, 10%, and 5%.
There are four lists, one for each of the rates proposed. Many of the goods are agricultural-related, with others on various metals and chemicals.
China’s decision was made in response to a U.S. plan to raise tariffs to be imposed on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, reported state-run Xinhua News.
“China’s countermeasures with differentiated tariff rates are rational and restrained, and were proposed after extensively soliciting opinions and careful evaluation,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The move comes just two days after U.S President Donal Trump instructed his government to study the possibility of increasing the rate of tariffs it has already proposed on $200 billion a year of Chinese goods, ranging from chemicals to handbags, to 25% from 10%. Those tariffs have not taken effect, and a final decision on their size and scope is not expected until next month.
Beijing’s measures have taken into full consideration factors including the people’s well-being, the bearing capacity of companies, and maintaining the functioning of the global industrial chain, according to the spokesperson.
“China always believes that consultation based on the principles of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit is the effective way of resolving trade differences, and any unilateral threat or blackmail will only aggravate contradictions and hurt the interests of all sides,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson pointed out that, because the US had repeatedly escalated the situation in disregard of the interests of enterprises and consumers of both countries, China was forced to take the countermeasures to protect national dignity and its people’s interests, defend free trade and multilateral mechanisms, and safeguard the common interests of all countries in the world, said Xinhua News.
Commenting on the latest U.S. move to add some Chinese companies to its list of entities subject to U.S. export controls, the MOC said China stands firmly against U.S. unilateral sanctions on Chinese entities.
The White House responded to China’s announcement in a statement, saying that instead of retaliating, “China should address the longstanding concerns about its unfair trading practices, many of which are laid out in USTR’s [United States Trade Representative] 301 report.”