BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China’s state media said on Saturday the government’s retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods showed rational restraint, although in an opinion piece it still admonished the United States for blackmail and bullyboy tactics.
Late on Friday, China’s finance ministry unveiled new sets of additional tariffs on 5,207 goods imported from the United States, with the extra levies ranging from 5 to 25 percent on a total value of goods less than half of that proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.
The response follows the Trump administration’s proposal of a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
“China’s countermeasures are rational,” according to a commentary in the Global Times, a tabloid run by the official People’s Daily.
“China will not rush to compete with U.S. numbers,” it said, echoing comments made by state television.
The United States and China implemented tariffs on $34 billion worth of each others’ goods in July. Washington is expected to soon implement tariffs on an additional $16 billion of Chinese goods, which China has already said it will match immediately.
“The White House’s extreme pressure and blackmail are already clear to the international community,” said a state television commentary.
“Such methods of extreme blackmail will not bear fruit against China,” it said.
China has now either imposed or proposed tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. goods, representing the vast majority of China’s annual imports of American products. Last year, China imported about $130 billion in goods from the United States.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, remained staunch on Washington’s push for fairer trading conditions with China.
“President Trump inherited an unfair trade regime where American workers and American companies were not treated reciprocally or fairly by the Chinese, and the efforts of the Trump administration are to right that, to correct that,” Pompeo said to reporters on the sidelines of a regional forum in Singapore on Saturday.
Pompeo added that he had discussed trade issues with China’s State Councillor Wang Yi on Friday.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING and David Brunnstrom in SINGAPORE; Writing by Engen Tham; Editing by Tom Hogue)