Beijing pledged to respond if the U.S. insists on adding extra tariffs to the remainder of Chinese imports, as President Donald Trump’s abrupt escalation of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies sent stocks tumbling from Asia to Europe.
Trump announced Thursday that he would impose a 10% tariff on a further $300 billion in Chinese imports, a move set to hit American consumers more directly than his other tariffs so far. The new import taxes, which Trump later said could go “well beyond” 25%, will be imposed beginning Sept. 1 on a long list of goods expected to include smart-phones, laptop computers and children’s clothing.
“If the U.S. is going to implement the additional tariffs, China will have to take necessary countermeasures,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing in Beijing on Friday. She didn’t elaborate on what the measures would be.
“China won’t accept any maximum pressure, threat, or blackmailing, and won’t compromise at all on major principle matters,” Hua said.
The threat to tax practically all U.S. imports from China marks the biggest escalation so far taken by the Trump administration and brings a surprise end to a truce that had only been in place since he met Xi Jinping, his Chinese counterpart, in Osaka at the end of June.
Bureaucrats in Beijing were stunned by Trump’s announcement, according to Chinese officials who’ve been involved in the trade talks.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the first official response to Trump’s escalation earlier Friday.
“Imposing new tariffs is absolutely not the right solution to trade frictions,” he told a local Chinese television station while attending an Asean meeting in Bangkok.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index slumped following big declines on Wall Street and in Asia. U.S. futures also retreated Friday, extending a drop as Beijing responded to Trump’s escalation. The offshore yuan moved closer to a record low.
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