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China ready to take countermeasures to US tariffs
 
The People's Republic of China flag and the U.S. flag fly along Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol during Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit in Washington, D.C., Jan. 18, 2011.Photo: Reuters
 
China strongly condemns and firmly opposes the U.S. tariff proposals and is ready to take countermeasures on U.S. products, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Wednesday.
 
A MOC spokesperson made the statement after the U.S. administration raised the stakes in a growing trade showdown with China, announcing 25 percent tariffs on some 1,300 industrial technology, transport and medical products.
 
The U.S. Trade Representative’s office unveiled a list of mainly non-consumer products representing about $50 billion of estimated 2018 imports that would nonetheless hit supply chains for many U.S. manufacturers. The list ranges from chemicals to TV sets, motor vehicles and electronic components.
 
Publication of the tariff lists starts a public comment and consultation period expected to last around two months, after which USTR said it would issue a “final determination” on the product list. It has scheduled a May 15 public hearing on the tariffs.
 
"Disregarding strong representations by China, the United States announced the tariff proposals that are completely unfounded, a typical unilateralist and protectionist practice that China strongly condemns and firmly opposes," according to the statement.
 
The U.S. side published the list in disregard of the mutually-beneficial and win-win nature of the China-U.S. commercial cooperation in the past 40 years, the appeal of the Chinese and American business communities and the interests of consumers, it said.
 
China plans to immediately bring relevant U.S. practice to the dispute settlement body of the WTO, and is ready to take countermeasures on U.S. products with equal force and scale that will be published in the coming days.
 
"We have the confidence and ability to respond to any U.S. trade protectionist measures," the spokesperson said.
 
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang also made a response Wednesday, saying the U.S. tariff proposals are "typical unilateralist and protectionist action."
 
The White House’s announcement on Wednesday also drew a swift threat of retaliation from the Chinese embassy in Washington.
 
“As the Chinese saying goes, it is only polite to reciprocate. The Chinese side will resort to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism and take corresponding measures of equal scale and strength against U.S. products in accordance with Chinese law,” the embassy said in a statement.
 
The U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on March 22 that could impose tariffs on Chinese imports and restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States, despite strong warnings from business groups and trade experts.
 
The memorandum is based on a Section 301 investigation, launched by the Trump administration in August 2017, into alleged Chinese intellectual property and technology transfer practices.
 
The move came after the U.S. administration took an increasingly hawkish turn on China, as it blamed its trade deficit with major trading partners for its domestic economic woes and job losses. 

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