Workers share cigarettes near a booth promoting Made in China with Chinese calligraphy for "China Trendy" in Beijing on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. China's exports fell in April amid a punishing tariff war with Washington, adding to pressure on Beijing on the eve of negotiations aimed at settling the fight over its technology ambitions. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

China says it will retaliate if Trump raises tariffs

May 08, 2019 - 9:05 pm

BEIJING (AP) — China said Thursday it will retaliate if President Donald Trump goes ahead with more tariff hikes in a fight over Beijing's technology ambitions, ratcheting up tension ahead of negotiations in Washington.

Beijing would be forced to take "necessary countermeasures," the Commerce Ministry said, but gave no details of possible penalties.

Trump threw global financial markets into turmoil with his surprise threat Sunday to raise import duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, effective Friday.

The volley of threats came as Chinese and U.S. negotiators prepared for talks in Washington aimed at ending the dispute over complaints about Beijing's industry and trade policies.

"China deeply regrets that if the U.S. tariff measures are carried out, China will have to take necessary countermeasures," said a Commerce Ministry statement.

Trump has raised import duties on $250 billion of Chinese goods. Beijing responded with penalties on $110 billion of American imports, but is running out of goods for penalties due to their lopsided trade balance.

Chinese authorities already have extended retaliation beyond imports by targeting operations of American companies in China. Regulators have slowed down customs clearance for shipments by American companies and delayed issuing licenses in finance and other industries.

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