BEIJING : China on Thursday threatened retaliation if Washington steps up their war over trade and technology by going ahead with planned Sept. 1 tariff hikes on additional Chinese imports.
Beijing will take unspecified “necessary countermeasures,” the Cabinet said in a one-sentence statement. It gave no details or any indication plans for trade talks in Washington in September might be affected.
Trade between the two biggest global economies has plunged, battering suppliers of goods from medical equipment to soybeans and threatening job losses. Chinese imports of U.S. goods fell 19% from a year earlier in July. Exports to the United States declined 6.5%.
China’s lopsided trade balance with the United States means Beijing almost has almost run out of imports that haven’t already been hit with retaliatory tariffs. But Beijing has extended punishment for U.S. companies by delaying customs clearance for their goods and delaying issuing licenses in finance and other fields.
China offered to narrow its multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the U.S. by purchasing more soybeans and other exports. But negotiators are resisting pressure to roll back industry plans the ruling Communist Party sees as a path to prosperity and global influence.
Trump and President Xi Jinping agreed in June to resume negotiations but neither side has indicated a willingness to compromise. A round of talks last month in Shanghai ended with no indication of progress.
By this point, the Trump administration has imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports.
Beijing has retaliated by imposing punitive duties on $110 billion of American goods. Based on last year’s imports of U.S. goods, that leaves about $45 billion of goods that haven’t been hit with penalties.