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First round of US tariffs on Chinese goods to hit US$50b on Aug 23: USTR

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The first round of President Donald Trump's 25 per cent punitive tariffs on China will hit US$50 billion in goods starting August 23, the government announced Tuesday.

[WASHINGTON] The first round of President Donald Trump's 25 per cent punitive tariffs on China will hit US$50 billion in goods starting August 23, the government announced Tuesday.

Washington already imposed tariffs on US$34 billion in Chinese products on July 6. But it held off on a final US$16 billion as a result of concerns raised by US companies.

Although the move was expected, it cements the view that there appears to be no effort underway to defuse the dispute between the world's two largest economies.

China has already retaliated with duties of its own, and has pledged to match the US dollar for dollar with new tariffs.

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The dispute has continued to escalate as the sides exchange threats, and Mr Trump last week threatened to jack up the tariff rate on the next US$200 billion in Chinese imports it plans to target to 25 per cent, from the planned 10 per cent.

China fired back warning it would impose duties on US$60 billion in US goods.

The office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said its "exhaustive" investigation showed "China's acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory and burden US commerce."

USTR said there were 279 new goods to be targeted in the dispute over China's policies promoting theft of American technology.

Those include imports like motorcycles, tractors, railroad parts, electronic circuits, motors and farm equipment.

US industries and farmers have been caught in the crossfire, and the Trump administration announced US$12 billion in aid to help farmers hurt by duties on crops such as soybeans.

AFP