US, China economic trade war starts

By AFP |July 06,2018 - 10:42 PM

The tariffs will affect some $34 billion in goods. /AFP

The US and China on Friday launched tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s imports, the opening shots in what Beijing called “the largest trade war in economic history” between the world’s top two economies.

At the stroke of midnight Washington time, the US pulled the trigger on 25-percent duties on about $34 billion in Chinese machinery, electronics and high-tech equipment, including autos, computer hard drives and LEDs.

The foreign ministry in Beijing said retaliatory measures “took effect immediately” with state news agency Xinhua confirming they were also 25-percent tariffs on an equal amount of goods.

Economists have warned escalating trade frictions could throttle global growth and strike at the heart of the world trading system, causing shockwaves across the planet.

Friday’s tariffs could just be the opening skirmishes in the trade war, as US President Donald Trump has vowed to hit as much as $450 billion in Chinese goods, the vast majority of imports.

Months of dialogue between the two economic superpowers appeared to have failed, with Trump warning just hours before the tariffs came into effect that Washington was ready to impose duties on hundreds of billions of dollars more in Chinese imports.

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