China vows fast response to US tariffs

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Beijing, June 15 (IANS) China will respond immediately to protect its rights and interests if the US pushes ahead with unilateral and protectionist policies, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks at a daily news briefing in response to the reports that the US is scheduled to release an updated list of tariffs targeting $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

While reiterating Beijing’s stance of settling disputes through dialogue, Geng said that the results of the China-US trade talks would be void if Washington forges ahead with trade sanctions including tariffs, China Global Television Network reported.

On Thursday, US officials met at the White House to shorten the original list of 1,300 categories to about 800. Duties on foreign steel and aluminium, announced in March, have already gone into effect.

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Those tariffs prompted Europe, Mexico, Canada and China to introduce or announce plans for counter-measures in retaliation.

The move threw the G7 meeting last weekend into disarray, with US President Donald Trump retracting his endorsement of the joint statement and lashing out at host Canada.

The US said its tariffs on Chinese goods came in response to what it categorised as theft of intellectual property.

Washington said it wanted Beijing to stop practices that allegedly encouraged transfer of intellectual property — design and product ideas — to Chinese companies.

International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde on Thursday warned that the Trump administration’s trade policies were likely to hurt the US economy and undermine the world’s trade system.

She said a trade war would lead to “losers on both sides” and could have a “serious” impact.

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–IANS

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