US, China firms brace for escalating trade war

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After a spiralling trade dispute with President Donald Trump, China has announced its decision to hike the import duties on electric cars and a list of other goods accounting for $34 billion, which come from the United States of America.

The duties, which will make Chinese goods more expensive for United States customers, were imposed "in light of China's theft of intellectual property and technology and its other unfair trade practices", the White House statement said.

Beijing's countermeasures closely mirrored Washington's, with 545 American exports, also valued at US$34 billion, facing punitive duties as of Jul 6, including agricultural products and vehicles, according to the official news agency Xinhua.

China has unveiled a list of products from the United States that will be subject to additional tariffs in response to U.S. announcement to impose additional duties on Chinese imports.

"All the economic and trade-related achievements previously reached by the two sides will be rendered invalid", the ministry said, referring to the results of earlier rounds of China-US trade talks.

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President Trump has also said that if China retaliated - which they now have - he would target another $100 billion of Chinese exports. He also vowed further measures if Beijing struck back.

Stock markets fell after the announcements amid fear of a trade war. The 25 percent tariffs will be placed on roughly $50 billion in imports from China.

China "doesn't want a trade war" but has to "fight back strongly", said a Commerce Ministry statement.

A Chinese Commerce ministry statement gave no details of the American products that would be hit. China last month promised to buy substantially more goods from the U.S.in order to narrow the trade deficit between the two countries.

The government went on: "In this day and age, launching a trade war is not in the interest of the world".

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United States officials say Beijing has sought industrial dominance in the emerging technologies through the theft of American know-how through forced technology transfers, hacking and other forms industrial espionage.

Trump officials said the products to be hit with tariffs include those that benefit from the "Made in China 2025" policy, an effort by Beijing to ramp up aerospace, robotics and other manufacturing industries.

China's refusal to get intimidated by the USA sanctions shows "it is hard to see a path to a negotiated settlement that avoids a big hit to trade and investment flows between the two countries", the Washington Post quoted Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund's China division, as saying. He further said the China's decision to impose tariffs on United States products was necessiated by the circumstances that arose out of the U.S. violations of worldwide obligation.

While the tariffs amount to just a small portion of the economy, their impact on consumer confidence is considerable, especially as prices on goods like washing machines rise.

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