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China has accused the US of trade bullying after a new round of US tariffs on Chinese goods kicked in.

The
US imposed tariffs on a further $200bn ($152bn) worth of Chinese
products, the largest round yet in the escalating trade war between the
economic superpowers.

The tariffs are in response to what the US says are unfair trading practices by China.

Beijing has retaliated with tariffs on $60bn of US goods.

In an official white paper, as reported by Xinhua news agency,
China said the US was employing “trade bullyism practices”,
“intimidating other countries through economic measures”, and hurting
the global economy.

China has also accused the US of starting the “largest trade war in economic history”.

The
latest move takes the total amount of Chinese imports hit by US tariffs
since July up to $250bn. This means about half of all Chinese imports
to the US are now subject to new duties.

The latest escalation comes as China cancelled further trade talks with the US, according to media reports.

What happened on Monday?

The latest US duties apply to almost 6,000 items, making them the biggest round of trade tariffs yet from Washington.

They affect handbags, rice and textiles, although some items such as smart watches and high chairs have been exempted.

US companies importing the Chinese products in question will have to pay an additional 10% levy.

The tax will rise to 25% from the start of 2019, unless the two countries agree a deal.


In contrast, China is placing an additional 5% duty
on US products including smaller aircraft, computers and textiles, and
an extra 10% on goods such as chemicals, meat, wheat and wine.

What tariffs have we had so far?

In total, the US has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese products this year, totalling $250bn worth of goods.

It placed 25% tariffs on $50bn worth of imports from China in two separate rounds.

In July, the White House increased charges on $34bn worth of Chinese products.

Then
last month, the escalating trade war moved up a gear when the US
brought in a 25% tax on a second wave of goods worth $16bn.

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Beijing retaliated in kind.

In
response to the first two rounds of US tariffs, China imposed duties on
$50bn of US products, targeting key parts of the president’s political
base, such as farmers.

Why is the US doing this?

President
Donald Trump says he wants to stop the “unfair transfers of American
technology and intellectual property to China” and protect jobs.

Tariffs,
in theory, will make US-made products cheaper than imported ones,
thereby encouraging consumers to buy American. The idea is that this
will boost local businesses and support the national economy.

But many US companies and industry groups have testified to the US Trade Representative’s Office that their businesses are being harmed.

There are signs that companies are already being affected, and the IMF has warned major escalations will hit global growth.

Trump’s tariff policies are part of his protectionist trade agenda
since taking office, which challenges decades of a global free trade
system.

What comes next?

Trump recently said taxes on another $267bn
of goods were “ready to go on short notice” – that would mean virtually
all of China’s exports to the US would be subject to new duties.


It is unclear how China can match the scale of US tariffs in the long term.

The US buys far more from China than it sells to them, so China only has limited room to retaliate through trade.

Analysts have said China could get creative when fighting back. It could make life more difficult for American companies in China or force its currency lower to boost exports.

Trump recently accused China of doing just that. But China has hit back at these accusations. China “will never go down the path of stimulating exports by devaluating its currency”, Premier Li Keqiang said last week.

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