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Trade War Escalates as China Announces Tariffs on US Imports

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S.-China trade war escalated further Tuesday, with China announcing retaliatory tax increases on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports, including coffee, honey and industrial chemicals.

The increases are in response to the U.S. announcing it will impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese-made goods starting next week. The tariffs will start at 10 percent, then rise to 25 percent on Jan. 1.

China’s Finance Ministry said its tariff increases are aimed at curbing “trade friction” and the “unilateralism and protectionism of the United States.”

There was no word on whether China would back out of trade talks it said it was invited to by the U.S., but a Chinese Commerce Ministry statement said the U.S. increase “brings new uncertainty to the consultations.”

The two countries have already imposed import taxes on $50 billion worth of each other’s goods. President Donald Trump threatened to add an additional $267 billion in Chinese imports to the target list if China retaliated for the latest U.S. taxes. That would raise the total affected by U.S. penalties to $517 billion, covering nearly everything China sells to the United States.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China warned Tuesday that Washington is underestimating Beijing’s determination to fight back.

“The downward spiral that we have previously warned about now seems certain to materialize,” said William Zarit, the chamber’s chairman.

At the root of the trade war are U.S. complaints about China’s plans to try to overtake U.S. technological supremacy. Those plans include “Made in China 2025,” which calls for creating powerful Chinese entities to compete in robotics and other fields. The U.S. says the plans are based on stolen technology, violate China’s market-opening commitments and might erode American industrial leadership.

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