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China Vows Retaliation as New Tariffs Take Effect

Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds at an event marking the 40th anniversary of China’s reform in Beijing, China, December 18, 2018. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

China promised to respond in kind to new U.S. tariffs that took effect Friday even as trade talks continued in Washington between Chinese trade representatives and their American counterparts.

China “hopes the United States can meet China halfway, make joint efforts, and resolve the issue through cooperation and consultation,” China’s Commerce Ministry said, adding that it “deeply regrets” the decision.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection hiked tariffs at midnight on Friday from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, intensifying a 10-month trade war with the world’s second-largest economy.

The U.S. also currently has a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese high-tech products.

Negotiations broke down earlier this month as the U.S. accused China of reneging on items previously agreed to, but U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met Thursday negotiations with China’s top negotiator, Vice Premier Liu He, and are expected to continue discussing terms on Friday.

“Over the course of the last week or so, we’ve seen an erosion in commitments by China, I would say retreating from commitments that have already been made, in our judgment,” Lighthizer said on Monday.

“I came here this time, under pressure, to show China’s great sincerity,” Liu told state broadcaster CCTV on Thursday.

President Trump had strong words for China on the matter earlier this week, but on Friday said the talks are “congenial.”

“Talks with China continue in a very congenial manner – there is absolutely no need to rush,” the president wrote Friday on Twitter.

“With the over 100 Billion Dollars in Tariffs that we take in, we will buy agricultural products from our Great Farmers, in larger amounts than China ever did, and ship it to poor & starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance,” he added in subsequent tweets. “In the meantime we will continue to negotiate with China in the hopes that they do not again try to redo deal!

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