U.S. tariffs take effect, China warns of 'counterattack'

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Previously, Beijing had vowed to impose counter-tariffs of 25 percent would apply on USA agricultural and other products worth $34 billion.

China's commerce ministry, in a statement shortly after the United States deadline passed at 04:01 GMT on Friday, said that it was forced to retaliate, meaning imported U.S. goods including cars, soybeans, and lobsters also faced 25 per cent tariffs.

President Donald Trump's administration's 25 per cent tariffs are targeting Chinese products such as industrial machinery, medical devices and auto parts.

China says it may hike tariffs on USA pork, other goods.

China is warning that it's prepared to impose its own 25% retaliatory tariffs on 545 US products such as California wine, meats, nuts and agricultural products. "There are lots of things they could do to make life hard for USA businesses operating in China that would be detrimental to us".

The United Nations reported a year ago that, since 2012, China has led the world in the number of tourists who travel to other countries.

"For companies with supply exposure to tariffs, they will move sourcing country of origin if they can; if they can't, they'll pass on as much of the tariff cost as they can, or see a cut in margins", said Jacob Parker, vice president of China operations at the US-China Business Council in Beijing.

"The Trump administration also believes that at least starting a trade war is in its interests; the United States economy is strong enough to endure a crimp in trade, the president's domestic political standing is as strong as ever amongst Republicans, and pushing China hard on trade may help restore U.S. credibility on other issues", he added.

The comments come a day before Washington and Beijing plan to implement tariffs against each others' goods in an escalating trade conflict that has rippled out to financial markets.

The goal was to impose tariffs on products the Trump administration thought China could improve with the help of US intellectual property.

"The key is whether there will be more - a second round of revenge and retaliation and a third round", said Shi Yinhong, a professor of worldwide relations at Renmin University in Beijing.

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Some U.S. companies scrambled Friday to reach China before the tariff deadline.

China's foreign minister said trade protectionism and unilateral actions were "short-sighted" and in a statement on Friday called on European counties to work with China to safeguard a globally free trade system. The President and his aides clearly feel they have the upper hand in forcing Beijing to address the $375 billion trade deficit by buying more American goods to level the playing field.

US pork was already saddled with duties enacted in an earlier round of the trade row and now faces an extra 25 percent tariff that would raise the total charges up to 62 percent. "And the impact on USA business, in my estimation, will be substantial".

Behind the trade war, there is conflict within the Trump administration.

The U.S. and China have also issued a second batch of proposed duties on $16 billion of each other's goods.

Trump has taken an aggressive stance on trade, fulfilling a campaign promise.

Trump has railed against Beijing for intellectual property theft and barriers to entry for U.S. businesses and a $375 billion United States trade deficit with China.

"If the United States starts imposing additional tariffs, it will actually be charging taxes on firms both in China and around the world, as well as American companies", Feng, said at a news conference in China.

The U.S. -China trade war could have global implications. It said US companies want fairer treatment but will be hurt by US-Chinese tensions.

Local trade consultant Stephen Jacobi said he was hopeful that in the short term the dispute wouldn't a direct impact in New Zealand exports which (other than some steel products) were not in the firing line.