WASHINGTON:The U.S. government has officially begun implementing tariffs worth $34 billion on Chinese imports signaling the start of a trade war.
Tariffs worth $34 billion on Chinese goods took effect at 12:01 a.m. EST (0400GMT).
The White House initially announced in April that it was planning to slap China with $50 billion in tariffs, and added in June they could “contain industrially significant technologies”.
The new tariffs come “in light of China’s theft of intellectual property and technology and its other unfair trade practices,” the White House said in a statement on June 15.
As a response, Beijing is expected to impose retaliatory tariffs on Friday against the U.S., which could escalate the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies and have a spillover effect on other regions.
On Thursday, Gao Feng, Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman said China would not “fire the first shot”.
“However, if the United States adopts taxation measures, China will be forced to fight back to defend the core interests of the nation and the interests of the people,” Gao said.
Tariffs on other $16 billion of products are scheduled for a later date.
After the Trump administration announced imposing tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports in March, China said it would impose $3 billion worth of tariffs, between 15 to 25 percent, on 128 American goods.
After Washington’s plan to impose 25 percent tariffs on 1,300 Chinese goods that are worth $50 billion in April, Beijing immediately said it will place 25 percent tariffs on 106 American goods worth $50 billion.