China hits back with tariffs, accusing US of launching the ‘largest trade war in history’

Xinhua | Ju Peng | Getty Images

Xi Jinping delivers a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on behalf of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 18, 2017.

China implemented retaliatory tariffs on some imports from the U.S. Friday, state media reported, immediately after new U.S. duties had taken effect.

The move signals the start of a full-blown trade war between the world’s two largest economies, after President Donald Trump’s administration had initially made good on threats to impose steep tariffs on Chinese goods.

At midnight Washington time, the U.S. imposed new tariffs on $34 billion of annual imports from China. This prompted Beijing to respond in kind with levy tariffs on 545 items of U.S. imports — also worth $34 billion, state-run newspaper The China Daily reported Friday.

A spokesperson at China’s ministry of commerce said that while the Asian giant had refused to “fire the first shot,” it was being forced to respond after the U.S. had “launched the largest trade war in economic history.

“This act is typical trade bullying,” the spokesperson said, before adding: “It seriously jeopardizes the global industrial chain … Hinders the pace of global economic recovery, triggers global market turmoil and will affect more innocent multinational companies, general companies and consumers.”

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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