Team Trump and China slapped tit-for-tat tariffs on $34 billion worth of U.S. and Chinese imports on Friday, with Beijing accusing Washington of triggering the "largest-scale trade war" as the world's two biggest economies escalated their battle.
Washington-based think tank the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) expects U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, which it says particularly target computers and electronics, to hurt multinationals more than China as well as other firms in Asia. The U.S. exported 30 percent of its overall soybean production to China previous year.
Trump maintains the tariffs will pressure China to address trade complaints from the USA, including intellectual property theft.
Beijing's commerce ministry, in a statement shortly after the U.S. deadline passed on Friday, said the world's No. 2 economy was forced to retaliate by placing jacked-up 25 percent tariffs on United States cars, soybeans and lobsters.
It added that instead of "serving the interests of United States companies and people, the move will prove to be counter-productive and damaging".
USA tariffs on $34bn in Chinese imports took effect as a deadline passed on Friday, and with Beijing having vowed to respond immediately in kind, the world's two biggest economies took a high-stakes turn towards all-out trade conflict.
But despite the rhetoric, today's tariffs could be the opening skirmishes in the war, as Trump has vowed to impose duties on as much as US$450 billion (RM1.8 trillion) in Chinese goods, the vast majority of imports.
Later in the day, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said it had filed a challenge against the additional US tariff implementation with the WTO. "The countdown is on as to what Trump will do next".
Retaliatory measures by China also include taxes on imports of a variety of U.S. dairy products.
China aims to tie the fallout from the trade war on President Donald Trump. "So we have 50 plus 200 plus nearly 300", he said.
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A trade war between the USA and China, the world's largest economies, is underway officially. He thus directed U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer "to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of ten percent".
"More multinational companies, SMEs and ordinary consumers will be impaired and many industries in the United States have realised that it is them that will bear the consequences".
Top trade representatives from China and the US have held trade negotiations in recent months.
The Trade Partnership, a US-based economics research firm, suggests that the impact will be worse than initially expected, with around 400,000 jobs affected. That conjures the image of this being a cool, calm, collected game of chess on both sides: Washington and Beijing.
China also cut its purchases for cotton by 8,100 running bales in the 2017-18 season, the weekly USDA showed.
The US has applied tariffs on goods imported from China worth $34bn in the latest measures created to tackle its trade deficit with the Asian country.
Asked whether US companies would be targeted with "qualitative measures" in China in a trade war, Gao said the government would protect the legal rights of all foreign companies in the country.
"We urge the two governments to come back to the negotiation table", said Zarit.
"Soybeans are the top agriculture export for the United States, and China is the top market for purchasing those exports", said John Heisdorffer, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA), in a statement.
These initial tariffs are unlikely to inflict serious harm to the world's two biggest economies.