USA tariffs on Chinese imports take effect

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USA tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports took effect as a deadline passed on Friday, and with Beijing having vowed to respond immediately in kind, the two biggest economies were set on a risky path toward a full-blown trade war.

United States indices rose today (see table below) as investors looked past President Trump's just-initiated trade war with China to positive employment data.

Soybean growers in the Midwest are caught in the middle of an escalating trade war between the US and China.

The U.S.is still negotiating trade arrangements with Mexico, which is the second largest soy consumer after China.

"In order to defend the core interests of the country and the interests of the people, we are forced to retaliate", the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

The tariffs are bound to adversely affect many United States industries and could be passed on to American consumers in the form of higher prices.

Beijing earlier released a target list of $34 billion worth of imported USA goods, including automobiles and agricultural products that also faced 25 percent tariffs.

Beijing earlier released a list of American goods targeted for possible tariff hikes including soybeans, electric cars and whiskey.

President Donald Trump is already threatening additional rounds of tariffs, possibly targeting more than $US500 billion ($A673 billion) worth of Chinese goods, about the total amount of USA imports from China a year ago. US soybean farmers have been particularly concerned.

Last month, the European Union imposed tariffs on American goods worth Dollars 3 billion such as yachts, bourbon and motorcycles.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and US President Donald Trump in Florida previous year.

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In particular, the United States "will impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China containing industrially significant technology, including those related to the "Made in China 2025" program", the statement said.

The US decision to pursue a trade war has eroded the confidence of importers, and could cause a mess in the global supply chain, said Li Yong from China Association of International Trade.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said while Xi's response was encouraging, the Trump administration needs to see "concrete actions from China".

US customs officials will begin collecting an additional 25 percent tariff on imports from China of goods ranging from farming plows to semiconductors and airplane parts.

But as of Friday, he had Trump to thank for an unexpected boost to his income after being thrust to the front line of a trade war between the two countries.

Although the first exchange of tariffs is unlikely to inflict much economic harm on either nation, the damage could soon escalate.

The bank estimates that every $US100b of imports affected by the tariffs represents about 0.5 percent of global trade and 0.1 percent of global GDP.

Economists say that if the back-and-forth stops there, the overall impact on both economies will be minimal even though some industries will suffer.

-China tit-for-tat tariff fight is likely to shrink trade volume worldwide, which would weigh on the global economy that has been on a recovery track. He and his administration should realize that there will be no winners in this trade war.

With only $130 billion in U.S. imports to retaliate against, Beijing has said it will take "qualitative" and "quantitative" measures against the United States, triggering fears it could cripple the operations of USA multinationals in China.

At the stroke of midnight Washington time, the U.S. pulled the trigger on 25-per cent duties on about $34 billion in Chinese machinery, electronics and high-tech equipment, including autos, computer hard drives and LEDs.

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