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US to move forward on US$200b China tariff list

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The Trump administration said Tuesday it will publish a proposed list of an additional US$200 billion in Chinese products to be hit with tariffs, marking a sharp escalation in a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

[WASHINGTON] The Trump administration said Tuesday it will publish a proposed list of an additional US$200 billion in Chinese products to be hit with tariffs, marking a sharp escalation in a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

The consultation process for the new list will probably last about two months, including public hearings to take place from August 20 to 23, two senior administration officials said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters.

The US had no choice but to move forward on the new tariffs after China failed to respond to the administration's concerns over unfair trade practices and Beijing's abuse of American intellectual property, the officials said. High-level talks between the two countries starting in May failed to deliver a breakthrough to head off a trade war.

The Trump administration on July 6 imposed 25 per cent duties on US$34 billion in Chinese imports, the first time the president has implemented tariffs directly on Beijing after threatening to do so for months. The first round of tariffs covered Chinese products ranging from farming plows to machine tools and communications satellites.

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China immediately retaliated with duties on the same value of US goods, including soybeans and cars.

In addition, the US is considering separate duties on a further US$16 billion in Chinese goods, after a public hearing later this month. China has vowed to retaliate dollar-for-dollar to any further US tariffs.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that a full-blown trade war could undermine the broadest global upswing in years. But Mr Trump hasn't backed down, arguing that China's unfair trading practices are hurting American workers.

The president last month asked the US Trade Representative's office to identify US$200 billion of Chinese goods that could be hit with 10 per cent tariffs. Since then, the president has said his administration could impose duties on virtually all Chinese imports into the US.

Mr Trump has been considering tariffs against China since his officials concluded in March that Beijing violates US intellectual-property rights, such as by forcing American firms to hand over technology.

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