China slaps ole levies on American products

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The agency's "Section 301" investigation which authorises the tariffs accused China of misappropriating USA intellectual property through joint venture requirements, buying of U.S. technology firms with state funding and even theft and unjust technology licensing rules.

In early March, Trump said he planned to apply steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Reaction to China's measures varied on social media, with some saying Chinese customers would be the ones to ultimately pay for a trade war. "This is the first of many" penalties aimed at Chinese goods, the president said as he signed the order.

Trump has long accused Beijing of stealing American jobs through unfair trade practices.

The tariffs come into effect from Monday.

Those tariffs went into effect on Monday, targeting USA goods including frozen pork, nuts, fresh and dried fruit, ginseng and wine.

No wonder American producers are anxious.

In a sign that China could further its retaliatory campaign against the White House, the Global Times, a newspaper published by the ruling Communist Party, warned that "American politicians better realize sooner rather than later that China would never submit if the US launched a trade war". "No one wins in these tit-for-tat trade disputes, least of all the farmers and the consumers".

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Beijing said the move was to safeguard China's interests and balance losses caused by new U.S. tariffs. Trade representatives for the USA are asking for a 25 percent tariff on many Chinese tech products including aerospace and communications technology.

China's retaliatory tariffs have to meet two conditions to be effective, writes Alicia Garcia-Herrero, chief economist for Asia Pacific at Natixis, a French investment firm.

Beijing announced tariffs of up to 25 percent on at least 120 USA products on April 2 as a way to offset losses incurred from Trump's tariffs, which target aluminum, steel and Chinese tech products.

"Foreign technology acquisition through various means remains a prime focus under Made in China 2025 because China is still catching up in numerous areas prioritized for development", USTR said in its report justifying the tariffs.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, the top economic official, told US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a phone call last month that the IP investigation violated worldwide trade rules and Beijing was "ready to defend its naitonal interests". Trump has said his trade threats are meant as a way of negotiating. China could also retaliate in other ways, by slowing investment in the US or selling American debt, says Garcia-Herrero. But the tariffs are alarming news for the affected industries.

Since first announcing the metal tariffs, the White House has said it will spare a number of allies from the measures, including Canada, Mexico, the European Union and South Korea.

The effects are being felt on Wall Street too.

The Dow sank from 24,076 at the start of trading on Monday to 23,638, a roughly 1.9 percent drop. Netflix stock also dropped off 5 percent. Walmart was the biggest loser among the index's members on Monday. Over recent weeks, China's state-run news media has condemned the Trump administration's protectionist steps and presented China as the innocent defender of open trade.

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