China said it will start taxing $3 billion (€2.4 billion) worth of imports of US meat, fruit and other goods beginning Monday, in response to US tariffs on Chinese goods.
The announcement follows weeks of Chinese threats to introduce the measures amid a deepening trade dispute between Beijing and Washington.
What China is targeting:
- China's Customs Tariff Commission will target a total of 128 US goods.
- It will increase the tariff rate on eight US imports, including pork, by 25 percent.
- A new 15 percent tariff will be placed on 120 other US goods, including fruits.
- In a statement announcing the measures, China said that the US had "seriously violated" World Trade Organization principles and damaged China's interests.
Why this matters: Beijing's move is the latest escalation in its trade dispute with Washington. US President Donald Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on foreign steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports beginning March 23 with temporary exemptions for some countries but none for China. The US has separately threatened to impose some $50 billion (€40.6 billion) in tariffs on Chinese goods over alleged misuse of US intellectual property.
Swine's significance: China is the world's top consumer of pork. Beijing's tariff on pork imports is likely to hurt the US pork industry, which has already been put under pressure recently by weaker demand from China. The US exported $1.1 billion in pork products to China in 2017.
China 'not afraid' of trade war: Analysts have warned that the US tariffs on foreign goods could spark a global trade war as other countries retaliate with their own tariffs. A Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman said in late March: "We don't want a trade war, but we are absolutely not afraid of it."
Read more: Asian markets jittery over trade war fears
amp/aw (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)