BEIJING (Reuters) – China will levy tariffs on about $60 billion (45.60 billion pounds) worth of U.S. goods in retaliation for the latest round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese products, as previously planned, but has reduced the level of tariffs that it will collect on the products.
The tit-for-tat measures are the latest escalation in an increasingly protracted trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
On Monday, the U.S. administration said it will begin to levy new tariffs of 10 percent on $200 billion of Chinese products on Sept. 24, with the tariffs to go up to 25 percent by the end of 2018.
Previously, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to hit those goods with 25 percent tariffs immediately.
“China is forced to respond to U.S. unilateralism and trade protectionism, and has no choice but to respond with its own tariffs,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement on its website late on Tuesday.
China will levy tariffs on a total of 5,207 U.S. products, at 5 and 10 percent, instead of the previously proposed rates of 5, 10, 20 and 25 percent, even as the products remain unchanged from the previous plan, the finance ministry said.
China will impose a 10 percent tariff on U.S. products it previously designated for a rate of 20 and 25 percent, and 5 percent tariffs on goods previously under the 5 and 10 percent rates.
Items previously designated to be hit by 20 or 25 percent tariffs included products ranging from liquefied natural gas and mineral ores to coffee and various types of edible oil. Those goods will now be taxed 10 percent.
Goods previously marked under the 10 percent category included products such as frozen vegetables, cocoa powder and chemical products. Those products will now be taxed 5 percent.
The new tariff measures will take effect at 12:01 p.m. (0401 GMT) on Sept. 24.
China will further respond accordingly if the United States insists on increasing tariffs, according to the Finance Ministry.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo, Se Young Lee, Yawen Chen and Lusha Zhang; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Alison Williams)