May 27, 2019
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China responds with tariffs on $60 billion US goods

By Jesús Centeno

Beijing, May 13 (efe-epa).- The Chinese government Monday said that from June 1 it will impose tariffs on $60 billion worth of goods from the United States, in response to the latest measure adopted by President Donald Trump.

It was a new chapter in the bitter trade dispute between the two countries, China responded to the last tariff increase ordered by Trump on Friday, which affects Chinese goods worth $200 billion.

The Chinese Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website that the Asian country hopes, despite the measure, that the two nations can return to the negotiating table to work together and come to an agreement.

The ministry also said that it will increase various tariffs of up to 25, 20 and 15 percent out of a total of 5,140 US products, including liquefied natural gas.

China said on Friday that it would be forced to take countermeasures in the face of the latest US tariff hike.

Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, warned from Russia of the "harmful effects" that has "put pressure on Beijing" and said that "the US attempts to pressure China will only exacerbate the situation around the commercial agreement."

The foreign minister, close to Chinese President Xi Jinping, said that negotiations have achieved "serious and significant progress thanks to the efforts of both parties."

"There are difficult problems that require serious study and decision-making," Wang said after a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Sochi.

It remains to be seen whether these difficulties refer to Beijing's refusal to comply with the requirements of Washington, which calls for legislative mechanisms to protect the intellectual property of US companies and a penalty mechanism to ensure compliance with the commitments agreed by China.

"In such circumstances, it simply does not make sense to blame the other party unilaterally and, in addition, transfer responsibility to others," said the Chinese minister.

He added that China "will defend its interests and those of international trade" above all.

The measure has not caught academics and analysts by surprise.

"Xi will have to reach commitments with the United States in the coming months, and I hope for an agreement, if not a complete one, at least partial that will allow both parties to continue with trade and set aside this type of punitive tariffs," Jean-Pierre Cabestan, professor of political science at Hong Kong Baptist University, told Efe.

"There is still room for negotiation, of course the frictions will continue, I have no doubts about it, but let's hope for the best for everyone as we prepare for the worst," Rea Xiao, professor of international politics at the Fudan University said.

The negotiations between China and the US to reach an agreement cooled on Friday after Washington began to apply the increase of 10 to 25 percent tariffs on goods imported from the Asian giant, breaking a truce of more than six months in the commercial dispute.

The US president returned to his original plan to increase the burden of tariffs against Chinese products, which he decided to freeze in December to open a negotiation with China that, despite everything, is still active.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He announced on Sunday after returning from Washington to participate in the latest round of talks, negotiations to settle the trade war, which until a few days ago seemed to be approaching the signing of an agreement, "have not collapsed" and will continue soon in Beijing.

"We are cautiously optimistic about the future," said Liu.

He described the recent meetings in the US capital as "frank and constructive." EFE-EPA

jco/rb

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