US, China impose fresh tariffs amid trade talks

The United States and China imposed fresh tariffs on each other’s goods on Thursday escalating the trade war even as mid-level officials from both economic giants were engaged in talks in Washington to avert a conflict.

A 25% tariff was imposed by both on $16 billion worth of each other’s goods shortly after noon Beijing time. China also said it would lodge a complaint about the new American tariffs to the World Trade Organization, according to a Chinese Ministry of Commerce statement on its website.

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The US will collect an additional 25 percent in duties on Chinese imports ranging from motorcycles to steam turbines and railway cars, and the Chinese retaliation will see a similarly sized tax on items including coal, medical instruments, waste products, cars and buses.

US Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass and Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen met Wednesday and will meet again on Thursday for the first face-to-face trade discussions since June.

The talks between the mid-level officials aren’t expected to draw in senior decision-makers and are predicted only to result in a joint statement of productive discussions, according to a person familiar with the agenda.
The discussions will touch on the major friction points, ranging from intellectual property protections to re-balancing trade, the person said.
President Donald Trump himself has played down expectations in recent days while reviving a point of friction by accusing Beijing of manipulating its currency to offset the impact of his tariffs.

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