China threatens retaliation as US import tariffs go into effect

China's vice premier Liu He (middle), pictured with US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin (right) and US trade representative Robert Lighthizer.

As the 25% increased tariffs on Chinese exports into the United States went into effect today, China’s Ministry of Commerce hinted at retaliation, dashing hopes for the renewal of amicable trade relations between the two countries.

Should the trade war between two major global traders escalate, this would slow global economic growth, according to Asia Pacific chief economist at Deutsche Bank Research, Michael Spencer.

“Deadlines are starting to dampen business investment. The global economy will be slowing down as these tariffs rise,” Spencer said.

Analysts in South Africa have also repeatedly warned that South Africa could be hard hit by a trade war as it depends heavily on these two countries for exports.

A Chinese commerce ministry spokesperson said in response to the US’s refusal to back down on the implementation of the hike in tariffs: “Escalating the trade conflict is not in the interests of the people in both countries and the world. China deeply regrets the move.”

Yet trade talks continue between the two sides with Chinese vice premier Liu He, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, and US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin expected to resume talks today (Friday) after tentative talks yesterday.

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