Washington / Beijing (AP) - The trade war between the US and China has again reached a new level of escalation. On Sunday came on both sides as announced new punitive duties in force.
China's new US $ 15 extra charge on additional Chinese imports worth more than $ 100 billion was countered with countervailing duties of five and ten percent, respectively.
For a year now, the two largest economies have been engaged in a trade war that has slowed economic growth in both countries and is also slowing down the global economy. US President Donald Trump wants to move China to punitive tariffs to conclude a comprehensive trade agreement. The negotiations have been deadlocked for months, but should perhaps be resumed this month.
For the first time, the US also imposed punitive tariffs on Chinese-made consumer goods such as TVs, books, diapers and sneakers. The tariffs are likely to lead in the opinion of experts in the medium term to price increases for US consumers. On 15 December then punitive tariffs of likewise 15 per cent on further consumer goods from China in the value of approximately 160 billion US dollar enter into force. Then products such as smartphones, laptops and clothing will be recorded.
All American punitive tariffs announced in August were originally intended to apply from Sunday. But Trump had the second tranche postponed so as not to burden the Christmas business. From December on, then almost all goods imports from China - in 2018 that was about 540 billion US dollars - punitive tariffs.
As an immediate response, China imposed countervailing duties of five and ten percent on US imports. The special charges came on Sunday at the same time with the US tariffs in force and meet, among other American farmers. Ten percent is also levied on imports of meat, vegetables such as corn and potatoes, fruits, seafood, clothing and leather goods. Five percent is made up of soybeans, dairy products, mushrooms and chemicals.
It is the first part of China's announced punitive tariffs on imports from the US totaling US $ 75 billion (€ 67.74 billion). China is planning further countervailing duties of five and ten percent on December 15 as further US taxes come into force. Ten percent will then be charged additionally on goods from the USA such as coffee, fruit juices, wine and beer, medicines, wood and even cars. Five percent comes on cigarettes, clothing, car parts, electrical appliances and aircraft engines on it.
So far, Trump has imposed only punitive tariffs on Chinese goods, such as industrial goods and machines worth around $ 250 billion. These led to additional costs for companies, but not directly for consumers. These existing punitive tariffs are set to increase by another five percentage points from October to 30 per cent.
After nervous reactions to the troubled stock markets, Trump has repeatedly shown optimism that the talks will continue soon. He was also confident that China wanted to sign an agreement. In Beijing, however, there were no signs of an early resumption of negotiations.
The trade conflict has been going on for more than a year. Triumphs were originally triggered by Trump's anger at China exporting far more to the US than vice versa. He calls for elimination of market barriers, criticizing copyright infringement and forced technology transfer in US companies operating in China, as well as government subsidies.
Later, Trump also called for structural changes in China, but the leadership in Beijing go too far. His actions against the Chinese telecom giant Huawei and his unpredictability in the talks angered the Chinese leadership.