Shortly after the Trump administration unveiled plans Friday to impose tariffs of 25% on $50 billion in Chinese products, China’s State Council announced it would levy penalties of the same rate on the U.S. goods of the same value.
The U.S. is “provoking the trade war,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Friday, while pledging to defend the country’s interests.
In striking back at the U.S. action, China expanded the list of U.S. products that would be subject to tariffs to 659 types of goods, from some 106 types it originally disclosed in April. Most of the added goods on China’s retaliatory list are agricultural, seafood and energy products. President Donald Trump said earlier Friday that the U.S. would respond with more tariffs if China retaliated.
Beijing is imposing the tariffs in two steps as Washington is doing—picking the same amounts and same dates the U.S. is choosing. On July 6, China will levy duties on $34 billion of U.S. products, covering 545 categories, ranging from soybeans, pork, chicken and seafood to sport-utility vehicles and electric vehicles. The farm goods were chosen to hit U.S. states that supported Mr. Trump, according to people with knowledge of Beijing’s plan.
Then China plans to implement tariffs on an additional $16 billion of U.S. goods, the State Council said. The start date for tariffs on those products, including chemicals, coal, crude oil and medical devices, will be announced later, it said. Commercial jets, airplane engines and other aviation equipment were left off the list.
Mr. Trump, in a statement earlier on Friday, said any Chinese retaliation would be met with new tariffs. He has already threatened additional tariffs on $100 billion in Chinese imports, but the U.S. hasn’t yet detailed which products would be hit.
“The trade war was started many years ago” by China and others, Mr. Trump said at the White House on Friday. He said the U.S. economy is already humming and “after we do our trade deals, wait ’til you see our numbers.”
The U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods come after others the Trump administration imposed on metals imports from allies in Europe, Mexico, Canada and Japan. This puts Washington at the center of a mounting trade confrontation, as Mr. Trump tries to put into effect his “America First” trade policy.
Caught in the middle are a number of big U.S. companies, which complain that the tariffs penalize them for their globe-spanning supply chains. The U.S. added semiconductors to its tariff list, for instance. Chips are often designed and produced in the U.S., sent to China for packaging or testing and then returned to the U.S. The chips would now be subject to tariffs on the return trip.