China rejects 'blackmail' on eve of U.S. tariff hike

China rejects 'blackmail' on eve of U.S. tariff hike

The price of USA soybeans has plunged 17 percent over the past month on fears that Chinese tariffs will cut off American farmers from a market that buys about 60 percent of their soybean exports.

The tariffs will hurt the American high-tech companies that Trump is trying to protect from intellectual property theft as it becomes increasingly hard for those companies to do business in China, she said.

Beijing insists it's the injured party.

China warned that while it has promised not to "fire the first shot", it would now be forced to "counterattack" in order to defend its core interests. It accused the United States of "typical trade bullying".

The government said previously it would hit more than 500 U.S. export items - including cars and major agricultural goods such as soybeans and meat - worth the same as the Chinese products targeted by the United States.

Even before Friday, the trade dispute between the world's top two economies had rattled markets and prompted warnings from companies of damage to their bottom lines and higher prices for consumers. US soybean farmers have been particularly concerned, and the price of soybeans has plunged 17 per cent over the past month on tariff fears. "If we're trying to sell there (another country), we should have the same opportunity as they have the right to sell here".

Trump confirmed that the United States would begin collecting tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods at 12:01 a.m. (0401 GMT) on Friday and warned that subsequent rounds could exceed $500 billion - roughly the amount that the United States imported from China past year.

There was no evidence of any last-minute negotiations between USA and Chinese officials, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

And Gao noted that of the $34 billion in taxable products on the United States list, about $20 billion - or almost two thirds - are made by firms with foreign investment, including a "significant portion" from America. The president said U.S. tariffs on an additional $16 billion in Chinese goods are set to take effect in two weeks. In fact, the scuttlebutt in Washington is that the Chinese were keen on making a deal to whittle down their surplus by pledging to buy $200 billion worth of American goods during talks in May, but the US President instructed his negotiators to seek ironclad guarantees, not just promises. Many countries, including India, have complained that there are too many restrictions on American exports that they actually want, and Washington simply wants to unload its excesses, such a chicken legs, on countries that don't particularly need them.

In April, the White House instructed the United States Trade Representative to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs against China.

Donald Trump's trade war could potentially drag in products from other American trade partners, undermining relations.

China says it may hike tariffs on U.S. pork, other goods.

It also is rooted in the clash between American notions of free trade and Beijing's state-led development model.

One ship laden with USA soybeans steaming toward China - the bulk carrier Peak Pegasus - appears to have lost the race to arrive before the import duties were imposed. Trump has added to the tension by threatening new tariffs on cars.

In the short term, analysts said, the moves may disrupt markets and hinder trade in both countries.

The administration is also weighing auto import tariffs and restrictions on Chinese investment in USA technology.

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