China announces $60 billion of U.S. goods for tariff retaliation

The US already imposed 25 per cent tariffs on US$34 billion of Chinese goods in early July, with another US$16 billion to be targeted in coming weeks, drawing an in-kind retaliation from China.

Representatives for the White House and the US Commerce Department did not immediately reply to a request for comment on China's retaliatory move.

But China exports far more to the United States than the other way round, making it more challenging for the country to hit back against USA tariffs.

The United States alleges that China steals USA corporate secrets and wants it to stop doing so, and is also seeking to get Beijing to abandon plans to boost its high-tech industries at America's expense.

China's imports from the United States a year ago totaled $153.9 billion.

The highest penalties in today's list would be imposed on honey, vegetables, mushrooms and chemicals, targeting farming and mining areas that supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

The list includes products as varied as snow blowers and 3-D printers, suggesting Chinese authorities were struggling to find enough imports that wouldn't disrupt their own economy.

Beijing's earlier round of tariffs appeared created to minimize the impact on the Chinese economy by targeting soybeans, whiskey and other goods available from Brazil, Australia and other suppliers.

Officials however downplayed suggestions the move was meant to compensate for the recent decline in the value of the Chinese currency, which has threatened to take much of the sting out of Trump's tariffs by making imports cheaper.

However, speaking to reporters at the White House, Kudlow said there had been some communication on trade "at the highest level" in recent days.

Slapping additional tariffs on Chinese imports - 60 per cent of which are made by foreign firms, including American companies - will only raise costs for domestic U.S. consumers, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Washington also wants China to stop subsidizing Chinese companies with cheap loans, claiming that this allows them to compete unfairly.

The United States and China have the world's biggest trading relationship but official ties are increasingly strained over complaints Beijing's technology development tactics hurt American companies.

The dispute is part of broader US complaints about global trading conditions that have prompted Trump to raise duties on steel, aluminum, washing machines or solar panels from Canada, Europe, Japan and South Korea.

Mr Trump is aiming to reduce his country's $375.6 billion trade deficit in goods - the gap between imports and exports - with China.

"We hope that the trade policy makers in the United States will be cool-headed, listen to the voice of United States consumers and also pay attention to the voices in the global community", Wang said.

[A] big driving factor behind the higher trade deficit this year is that US consumers are buying more stuff. So far this year, the trade gap is up more than 7 percent from January-June 2017.

  • Eleanor Harrison